Monday, August 31, 2009


Today marks the 52nd year of Malaysia's independence from British rule. I am wondering how would it be like if Malaysia is still under British rule. Would there be a parade including the Queen's Royal Horse Carriage? Would Merdeka Square be named as British Square? Would Malaysians be loyal and patriotic to wave the British flag and shout LONG LIVE THE QUEEN? It is impossible to visualise and imagine but one thing I know and long for is to be able to live my life independently.

Like a nation and everyone else I would love to lead an independent life free from troubling others and asking for favours to be done. Don't all of us love to live a life where almost everything is within our reach and means?

People who drive tend to complain and grumble about congested traffic conditions when someone like me would have to think thrice on whether to risk my life or not in driving cos a seizure behind the wheels could spell death or critical injuries to others and/or myself. People who had to climb stairs as a result of a breakdown of lifts heave and pant and curse at the inefficiency of the building management people in their failure to quickly repair and restore the lifts back to working condition soonest possible. For people with epilepsy, climbing stairs also equates to risks and accidents. Two days ago, I read of a death case of a teenager epileptic girl who had a seizure while climbing stairs and as a result fell and rolled down the stairs to her death.

What I am trying to say here is I am unable to live an independant life on my own completely without any help or assistance from loved oncs. Naturally, I am very blessed to be loved, supported and cared for by my loved ones but then I cannot help feeling a great sense of helplessness during many moments in my life. The feeling of uselessness and constant dependancy drive me to frustrations, anger and resentments.

Ultimately, I need eyes watching out for me whenever possible. Like it or not, this is a fact of life and I have learned to be a better person in coping with my frustrations. Instead of harbouring on negativities I have emerged to be a more positive and stronger person in spirit, soul and faith. I endeavour to reach out to others to inspire them to overlook the "lost independance" and readily accept what life has to offer. Do not ever allow any form of disability to cripple your life. There are purposes in our lives.

Here I am wishing everyone "Happy Independence" and "Live Life To The Fullest" for those who need loved ones' assistance constantly. GOD BLESS.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

First seizure may fuel thinking trouble in kids

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Children who are intellectually normal may have problems with language, memory, learning and other thinking or "cognitive" skills at or around the time they experience a first epileptic seizure, according to new research out in the medical journal Neurology.

"Our study highlights the importance of testing children with epilepsy for possible cognitive problems soon after they are diagnosed with epilepsy in order to avoid these issues affecting them later in life, especially if they have additional risk factors," study author Dr. Philip Fastenau noted in a statement from the journal's publisher, the American Academy of Neurology.

Fastenau, from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, and colleagues studied brain function and academic achievement in 282 school-aged children with a first seizure and 147 healthy seizure-free siblings.

In this intellectually normal group of kids, 27% of children with just one seizure showed cognitive difficulties at or near the time of the seizure, and up to 40% of those who had additional risk factors showed signs of cognitive problems, the study team found.

A child with four risk factors was three times more likely than seizure-free healthy siblings to have cognitive problems at the first doctor's visit.

The study also found that children who took anti-seizure drugs had difficulties in processing speed, language, verbal memory, and learning, compared to children who did not take any seizure medication.

Children prescribed antiepileptic drugs "should be closely monitored for cognitive problems resulting from the epilepsy drug," Fastenau said.

"Surprisingly," he added, academic achievement in these children appeared to be unaffected around the time of the first seizure. This suggests that "there is a window early in epilepsy for intervention to avoid hurting a child's performance at school," the researchers say.

In a related editorial, Dr. David Loring, of Emory University in Atlanta, makes the point that, "Because this study found cognitive problems at the time of the first seizure or soon after, it provides strong evidence that these cognitive problems can be attributed to underlying brain abnormalities that lead to the epilepsy, rather than from extended exposure to epilepsy drugs or the effect of numerous seizures."

SOURCE: Neurology, online August 12, 2009 (

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Source : Camden News

Social services held emergency talks on moving an art historian to
secure accommodation amid fears for his safety just months before he
was killed by his son, the New Journal has learned. Professor Lee
Johnson, 81, was beaten up and left to die in a house fire started by
his son Michael in July 2006. Both men were rescued from the blaze but
Professor Johnson died from shock in hospital. The tragedy that
unfolded was described as "avoidable".

The council people did what they could to protect Professor Johnson,
including calling the police in for advice. But Professor Johnson
wanted to continue to see his son alone. Neither the council nor the
police could stop that.

Judge Beaumont said it was "necessary for the protection of the public
from serious harm at Michael's hands" that Johnson be held under the
Mental Health Act. At the time of the offence he was suffering from a
mental illness of a nature that makes it appropriate for him to be
detained in a hospital, said judge. The drugs and his epilepsy brought
him to this act. This tragedy has arisen as a result of the delusion
within Michael Johnson's mind after what was a solid relationship, and
under no normal circumstances would he dream of harming his father.

Dr Peter Fenwick, one of the country's leading epilepsy experts, said
Keppra, the drug Johnson was being prescribed, was controversial. It
is well known for three major effects, he said. It is extremely good
for seizure cessation. Secondly, it makes people very irritable and
thirdly it can induce encephalopathy (brain disease) and from that can
arise psychosis. A number of my patients do develop psychosis.

(Definition of psychosis)
In the general sense, a mental illness that markedly interferes with a
person's capacity to meet life's everyday demands. In a specific
sense, it refers to a thought disorder in which reality testing is
grossly impaired.

This piece of tragic news reminded me of my Penang friend. In an
epilepsy support group meeting, she related of a nightmarish event
that unfolded in her home. Her teenager son who was epileptic had a
seizure one afternoon. Knowing her son's unexplainable violence during
a seizure, she hid herself in her bedroom. Little would she expect her
son to dash into her bedroom with a chopper knife. She had known very
well from her son's past seizures that windows in her house would be
smashed and furniture would be broken. But to attack her with a
chopping knife was beyond her imagination.

She screamed for her life and yelled hysterically for help. In her
attempt to escape from her "unintentional" killing son, she suffered
slashes and cuts. She dashed into a storeroom and locked herself in.
She waited till silence was restored and heard her son groaning in
pain. She knew by then his seizure had stopped. She walked out of the
storeroom and found her son lying half conscious on the floor of the

She called the police in immediately before her son regain full
consciousness. She also called an ambulance for herself. Her son was
being detained in the police lockup. She survived the fatal killing
act coming from her epileptic son and was so traumatised that she
never wanted to see her son again. She told us in tears drenching her
blouse that it was extremely heartbreaking for her to see her son end
up in a hospital and eventually, in an asylum, permanently.

I empathised my friend's situation and as a mum of a son I was also
very heartbroken to hear such a tragic piece of news. Epilepsy robbed
her of her only child. Because of all the harrowing experiences my
friend had gone through with her son, my friend was determined to
share the moral of her story with all caregivers - ALWAYS CARE AND

Sunday, August 2, 2009


What do you do when you are in an unfamiliar airport, train station, hospital, Immigration office or a new place you have never been to? You look out for signages. Our natural instincts are to look out for signages that can direct and guide us to spots , areas or streets that we are looking for. Lack of accurate and prominent signages spell calamity and give us a frightening and worrying sense of being quite lost and helpless. In such a case, we resort to asking people for directions.

Earlier this year, my son and I made a trip to a video arcade. We played and moved from one game to another until I stumbled upon the above signage. The signage had several warnings and one of it is has to do with people with epilepsy. It stated that if you have been diagnosed with epilepsy or experience seizures or dizziness with video product, you must consult a physician before playing. After taking a snapshot of this signage we ended our arcade trip as we are aware of the potential risks involved for both of us.

Imagine if there wasn't any warning signages for people with health risks especially people with epilepsy? A lot of young kids have their first seizures in video arcades. Parents are caught off guard and later regretted having brought their children to such places. I wish it is a mandatory Act in all countries for operators of video arcades to display prominent health warning signs for everyone to take note.