Sunday, May 20, 2007

New technology help to study the variations of Epilepsy

Eminent neurologist, Dr. Syed Irfan Ali, said that modern technology with newly introduced effective medicines brought positive results in controlling the epilepsy at the advance stage.

Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder with psychiatric sequel and complications and mainly affects the children because of genetic factors, he said, adding that with the use of Electroencephalograph (EEG), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Computerized Topography (CT) Scan, the consultants can easily diagnose the stage of epilepsy and suggest the required dosage of medications, which help the patients to live with seizure free life and perform normal chores and social activities.

He said that timely prognosis and targeted prescription could bring complete recovery, however, among the patients between the periods of two to four years.Describing epilepsy, Dr. Irfan informed that there is a marked variation with higher percentage among the young and the elderly. The epilepsy is a nervous system condition that causes electrical signals in the brain to misfire, he said, adding that these disruptions cause temporary communication problems between nerve cells leading to seizures.

To avoid any mishap when the epileptic patients suffer the fits, he advised the attendants to ensure that the patients should not drive vehicles, not to operate machines in factories, nor swim or work at height or near fire till their fits are controlled.He informed that though anyone can get epilepsy at any age, the research revealed that it can prevail among the children. Dr. Irfan said that 50% of the epilepsy cases are idiopathic with unknown cause.

In some of these, there may be a family history of epilepsy or a child who has a parent or other close family member with the condition is likely to have it too, he said and added that the researchers are working to determine what specific genetic factors are responsible.About the fits, commonly known as seizures in medical field, Dr. Irfan informed that seizures vary in severity, frequency and duration, and typically affect the patients for a few seconds to several minutes.

There are many different kinds of seizures, and what occurs during the seizures depends on where, in the brain, the electrical signals are disrupted, he said. He said that there are two main categories of seizures, generalized seizures, which involve the whole brain and partial seizures, which affect only part of the brain. Some epileptic patients may experience both kinds of seizures.

A child might lose consciousness, jerk or thrash violently during these seizures and milder seizures may leave a child confused or unaware of his or her surroundings, he said and added that some seizures are minor and could be detected only with the experienced eye. In such a case, the patient may simply blink or stare into space for a moment before resuming normal activity.During these fits, he said that it is essential for attendants to stay calm and keep the patient safely away from furniture, stairs, or radiators.

The attendant should put something soft on the head of the patient and turn him or her on the side so that the fluid in the mouth can come out. The attendant should avoid pitching a stick in the mouth of the patient and should restrain the patient from doing so as well. If the patient wants to sleep, he or she should be allowed to do so and the attendant should avoid giving extra medication unless the doctor prescribed it.About diagnose, he said that the attendants should contact the consultant if their patients, particularly children, had suffered seizures, staring spells, confusion spells, shaking spells or unexplained deterioration of school performance.

The attendants should explain the symptoms in detail as it helps the consultant to examine the patient accurately and diagnose problems in the brain and the rest of the neuralgic system.He said that although medication often works, it is less likely that subsequent medication will be effective if the patients are unresponsive after the second or third attempts. In some cases, surgery to remove the affected part of the brain becomes necessary.

Epileptic surgery is done on less than ten percent seizure patients, and only after an extensive screening and evaluation process.Dr. Irfan said that with some simple safety precautions, the children can participate in sports or other activities.


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