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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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Structural differences in brain are linked to epilepsy

Adults with epilepsy exhibited lower volume in the right thalamus, a region which relays sensory and motor signals.

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Structure of brain can help find the causes behind epilepsy.
Structure of brain can help find the causes behind epilepsy.
  • Latest research reveals that thickness and volume of brain can have an effect on our health
  • The differences can cause epilepsy
  • Apparently, there is more to epilepsy than realised

Thickness and volume differences in the grey matter of several brain regions could predict an increased risk of developing epilepsy — a neurological disorder characterised by seizures, finds a research led by a professor of Indian-origin.

Also Read : Stimulating Brain with Electricity may synchronise Brain waves and help improve short-term memory

Epilepsy affects 0.6-1.5 per cent of the global population, comprising many different syndromes and conditions, and defined by a tendency for seizures.

The findings showed reduced grey matter thickness in parts of the brain’s outer layer (cortex) and reduced volume in subcortical brain regions in all epilepsy groups when compared to the control group.

Connection between the grey matter and seizures. www.deccanchronicle.com
Connection between the grey matter and seizures. www.deccanchronicle.com

Reduced volume and thickness were associated with longer duration of epilepsy.

Adults with epilepsy exhibited lower volume in the right thalamus — a region which relays sensory and motor signals –and reduced thickness in the motor cortex, which controls the body’s movement.

These patterns were even present among people with idiopathic generalised epilepsies — a type of the disorder that are typically considered to be more benign if seizures are under control.

“We found differences in brain matter even in common epilepsies that are often considered to be comparatively benign,” said lead author, Sanjay Sisodiya, Professor at the University College London.

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

“We have identified a common neuroanatomical signature of epilepsy, across multiple epilepsy types. We found that structural changes are present in multiple brain regions, which informs our understanding of epilepsy as a network disorder,” added Christopher Whelan from the University of Southern California.

There is more to seizure than we actually realise.
There is more to seizure than we actually realise.

For the study, published in the journal Brain, the team conducted MRI brain scans of 2,149 people with epilepsy, and compared with 1,727 healthy controls from across Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australia.

“Our findings suggest there’s more to epilepsy than we realise, and now we need to do more research to understand the causes of these differences,” Sisodiya said. IANS