Thursday, August 6, 2015

Epilepsy cure through surgery

On 10th of May an article was published in our local media about surgery, an option for a cure to epilepsy. This article led me to read more about the pros and cons of surgery. Below are some pointers that are shared by Epilepsy Action, UK.

Success rates for epilepsy brain surgery

The success rate depends on the type of surgery. Many children stop having seizures after epilepsy surgery. If they do still have seizures, they usually have a lot fewer than before. If seizures continue, most children will usually continue to take their epilepsy medicine. Children who have a temporal resection usually do better than those who have an extra-temporal resection.

Benefits and risks

Although the tests before epilepsy brain surgery are very thorough, it’s still not always possible to predict what the risks are for each child. However, the test results will help the doctors decide whether to recommend surgery for your child. They will be able to discuss this with you fully before any decision about surgery is made.

Doctors will only go ahead with epilepsy brain surgery if the tests show that the benefits are likely to be higher than the risk of complications. The risks depend on the type of epilepsy brain surgery. Here are some possible risks.

Memory problems

The temporal lobes handle memory and language. This means that any surgery on the temporal lobes can cause difficulties in remembering, understanding and speaking. The memory problems can be for things that a child has seen (‘visual memory’) or for things that a child has heard (‘verbal memory’).

More seizures than before

Cutting the connections between the two hemispheres (sides) of the brain in corpus callosotomy stops seizures spreading from one hemisphere to the other. However, it doesn’t stop all the seizures, only the drop attacks. In fact, some children may have more focal (partial) seizures, but they are less severe.

Visual symptoms

After hemispherectomy (where the outer layer of one half of the brain is removed), a child’s vision may be reduced or they may have double vision. This is usually temporary. They may also have some difficulties with their peripheral vision. This may be temporary or permanent and will depend on how much of the brain has been removed.

One-sided paralysis

After hemispherectomy (where the outer layer of one half of the brain is removed), a child may have limited use of one side of their body. This one-sided paralysis is called a hemiparesis or hemiplegia. Physiotherapy and occupational therapy can help with this.

Behavioural problems

Some children may have had behavioural problems before the surgery. Or they may have had problems communicating or relating to other people. Epilepsy surgery itself will probably not help these problems. It is even possible that in a very few children, these problems may become a little worse.

Article Link:

Does sleep position alter the risk of SUDEP?


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Stop the Epilepsy Stigma!

These days if one would to take a stroll in shopping malls, you almost cannot miss out on high end outlets carrying labels like Zara, Burberry, Louis Vutton, and other branded names that you can think of. To me, these outlets are the ones that are nice to look at from the exterior; those "See, no touch" and "See, no buy" kinda thing. Having said so, I must admit that it is still nice to have a second glimpse at these exclusive outlets.

As a person with epilepsy, the topic of labels never fail to trigger a sore spot in me. I have lived through different phases of my life where I was being labelled as indifferent, weird, totally dependent and abnormal. And I am certain a lot of PWE would have experienced my same problems at some points in their lives. This should never have happened if not because of centuries old stigma. To stigmatize and being stigmatized, this derogatory process has got to stop.

Stigmatized is defined as "If you stigmatize someone, you have given that person a label — and it's usually a label that is limiting in some way.

In Ancient Greece, a stigma was a brand burned into a slave or a criminal's skin to symbolize disgrace. In the 1500s, the word stigmatize meant literally "to brand or tattoo." Nowadays, to stigmatize is to shame or brand a person in a more symbolic way."

If living and coping with epilepsy is not enough, PWEs are frequently challenged and confronted with problems arising from stigma like low self esteem, self rejection and self blame to name a few. To make matters worse, there are also issues like driving, employment, marriage, pregnancy and friendship to look into.

One ought to be extremely thankful if he or she does not have to live with epilepsy. But does that mean that he or she has the right to discriminate those of us who have epilepsy? Do not be quick to judge, criticize or stigmatize others when you are not walking a mile in their shoes. You can help by being more considerate and understanding towards others especially when you have no knowledge about their condition. What more, if their condition is a hidden condition like epilepsy.


The Importance of Keeping a Seizure Diary