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Stress may trigger a form of Reflex Epilepsy and increase the risk of its Development

Epilepsy is a disorder in which nerve cell activity in the brain is disturbed, causing seizures

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New York, April 4, 2017: For people suffering with epilepsy, facing stressful events such as the war, trauma or natural disaster, or the death of a loved one, may act as a common trigger for seizures, a study has found.

Epilepsy is a disorder in which nerve cell activity in the brain is disturbed, causing seizures.

The findings showed that higher anxiety levels in patients with epilepsy reported stress as a seizure trigger.

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Stress can not only increase seizure susceptibility and in rare cases a form of reflex epilepsy, but also increase the risk of the development of epilepsy, especially when stressors are severe, prolonged, or experienced early in life, the researchers said.

“Stress is a subjective and highly individualised state of mental or emotional strain. Although it’s quite clear that stress is an important and common seizure precipitant, it remains difficult to obtain objective conclusions about a direct causal factor for individual epilepsy patients,” said Heather McKee, Assistant Professor at the University of Cincinnati.

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For the study, appearing in the journal Seizure, the team looked at 21 studies from the 1980s to present — from patients who kept diaries of stress levels and correlation of seizure frequency, to tracking seizures after major life events, to fMRI studies that looked at responses to stressful verbal/auditory stimuli.

Most of the studies showed increases in seizure frequency after high-stress events such as the war, trauma or natural disaster, or the death of a loved one.

Adopting stress reduction techniques “could improve overall quality of life and reduce seizure frequency at little to no risk,” the researchers noted.

Some low risk stress reduction techniques may include controlled deep breathing, relaxation or mindfulness therapy, as well as exercise, or establishing routines. (IANS)

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Epileptic Pregnant Women Often Have Higher Risk of Death

Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological diseases affecting approximately sixty million people globally

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Pregnant Women
Risk of death 5 times higher in epileptic pregnant women: Study. Pixabay

The risk of dying during pregnancy is five times higher for pregnant women with epilepsy, finds a new study.

According to the study, from the Aarhus University in Denmark, pregnant women with epilepsy die of virtually the same conditions and events that women without epilepsy die of — ranging from accidents to blood clots, cancer and suicide — although with a greater frequency.

The results should be seen in light of the fact that in general, people with epilepsy have a higher mortality rate than the rest of the population. Overall, for women of childbearing age the mortality rate is 15 times higher, the researchers said.

“We can’t produce statistics on causes of death on the basis of five deceased pregnant women with epilepsy but we can conclude with great statistical certainty that pregnant women with epilepsy die five times more frequently than other pregnant women,” said Jakob Christensen, Associate Professor at the varsity.

For the study, the team examined a total of 2,110,084 pregnancies among which 11,976 (0.6 per cent) were pregnant women with epilepsy and a total of 176 women died during their pregnancy.

Pregnant Women
Lady with her baby. Pixabay

Mortality among women with epilepsy was compared with the mortality rate for women of the same age and social background.

“Although the absolute risk is small, we have to consider how we can follow pregnant women with epilepsy better than today,” Christensen said.

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“… We must take into account that the vast majority of pregnant women with epilepsy receive medication and are closely monitored during pregnancy, and that this probably helps to reduce the overall mortality because close monitoring means that there is better management of their epileptic seizures,” he said.

Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological diseases affecting approximately sixty million people globally. (IANS)