Possible explanation of how an epileptic seizure spreads through the brain

As seen in https://medicalxpress.com

In some forms of epilepsy, the function of certain “brake cells” in the brain is presumed to be disrupted. This may be one of the reasons why the electrical malfunction is able to spread from the point of origin across large parts of the brain. A current study by the University of Bonn, in which researchers from Lisbon were also involved, points in this direction. The results will be published shortly in the renowned Journal of Neuroscience.

For their study, the researchers investigated rats suffering from temporal lobe epilepsy. This is the most common form of the disease in humans. Unfortunately, it barely responds to the currently available medicines. “This makes it all the more important to determine exactly how it arises,” stresses Dr. Leonie Pothmann, who completed her doctorate on the subject at the Institute of Experimental Epileptology at the University of Bonn.

The data that has just been published may help scientists with this endeavor, because they indicate that a certain cell type does not function properly in patients. The affected cells are a class of so-called inhibitory interneurons, which are cells that can attenuate the excitation of brain areas. “We investigated interneurons in the hippocampus, an area of the temporal lobe known as the focus of epileptic seizures,” explains Pothmann.

Pyramidal cells play an important role in the transmission of excitation in the hippocampus. They generate voltage pulses in response to an electrical stimulus. These stimulate, among other things, interneurons, which in turn inhibit the pyramidal cells. This feedback loop acts as a kind of brake: It prevents the voltage pulses from propagating unhindered. An epileptic seizure would thus be nipped in the bud before it is able to spread to other parts of the brain.

Brake simulation in the computer

“In the rats, however, this brake did not work well compared to healthy animals,” says Pothmann’s colleague Dr. Oliver Braganza. “Our measurements show that the rapid, robust inhibition that occurs in healthy animals is greatly reduced in sick animals.”

In order to find out why this might happen and what the effects might be, the scientists simulated the interaction of pyramidal cell and interneuron on the computer. They changed certain properties of the virtual interneuron until its behavior in the simulation was exactly the same as in the sick animals.

The results provide information about two possible disturbances: The interneurons appear to release only a small part of the signal molecules (neurotransmitters) stored inside their cells in response to a stimulus. Additionally, their membranes are not working properly: They are unable to maintain a voltage gradient very well, almost as if they had a slight short circuit. Both factors contribute to the interneurons being activated only relatively weakly. In computer simulation, this interaction with the pyramidal cells resulted in the unhindered transmission of the type of activity that occurs in epileptic seizures.

“We now have to investigate these findings further,” explains Prof. Dr. Heinz Beck, head of the Institute of Experimental Epileptology and Associate Member of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases. “First we have to find out whether the two disruptions are actually responsible for the malfunction of the interneurons. If so, this may open the way to new therapeutic approaches in the long term.” However, the results are still pure basic research, he emphasizes. “It is by no means clear whether they will benefit patients—and if they do, it will certainly take many more years.”

As seen in https://medicalxpress.com

Epilepsy… It's Complicated

As seen on https://www.cureepilepsy.org/

” Among the public – and even among some medical professionals – the complexities of epilepsy are frequently underappreciated.

But those within the epilepsy community know this condition is very complicated in diagnosis, cause, impact, and treatment. In this episode of Seizing Life, we chat with Dr. Charles Marcuccilli about why the many truths of epilepsy aren’t well-known and what patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals can do to educate others and reduce epilepsy stigma.

Dr. Marcuccilli is the Director of Pediatric Epilepsy at the Rush University Medical Center. “

Boy three took Paw-Patrol toy truck for help after father suffered seizure

As seen in https://www.dailymail.co.uk/

‘Daddy was poorly’: Brave boy, three, climbed onto his Paw Patrol toy truck and trundled a quarter of a mile down a busy A-Road in search of help when his epileptic father suffered a seizure.

When his father fell ill, three-year-old Stefan Snowden knew he had to fetch help.

So the determined youngster hopped on his toy truck – and ended up trundling along a busy A-road with cars hooting and swerving round him.

Eventually a woman living nearby halted the traffic and gathered up Stefan in her arms.

A second woman who saw what had happened took him into her home and called police as they tried to work out where he had come from.

It emerged that Stefan had ridden from his home a quarter of a mile away on his Paw Patrol fire engine after his father Marc, 28, had a seizure.

He rode 320 yards down a country lane from his family’s home in the hamlet of Twenty in Lincolnshire, before ending up on the busy A151 which links to the towns of Spalding and Bourne. 

One witness said: ‘The little boy was just trundling along the main road towards Bourne. There were three or four cars behind him, but he was so low another impatient motorist overtook the line of traffic. Then a woman stopped her van and parked it across the road to rescue him. She was very brave.’

His proud mother, Carla Neve, 25, a housewife, had popped out to run an errand when the drama unfolded.

Miss Neve said: ‘Marc suffers from epilepsy. He was on the sofa and loses consciousness when he has a seizure. Stefan knows how to get out of the front door and must have gone to get his truck.

‘He was definitely going for help. When we spoke to the police Stefan said ”Daddy was poorly”. 

‘We are so proud of him and grateful to the two ladies.’ Mr Snowden, a former factory worker, added: ‘I suffer from seizures because of my epilepsy so it is life-threatening if I have one when I’m on my own. I am so proud of Stefan.’ 

Inspector Rachel Blackwell of Lincolnshire Police said: ‘We have so much praise for the first passer-by who put herself at risk to stop a tragedy. Without her speedy actions the child could have been seriously injured or worse.

‘The action of the second woman who opened her home was amazing. She entertained the boy while the first woman tried to track his family down.’

Neighbours went door to door until they found Miss Neve’s home where she was waiting for an ambulance for her husband, unaware Stefan was even missing.

Inspector Blackwell added: ‘Dad is doing fine and the family are so thankful to these two amazing people.’

High school football player sitting out with injury saves girl having seizure

As seen on https://www.mlive.com

FRANKFORT, MI — Seth Migda, a 17-year-old senior at Charlevoix High School was forced to sit out Friday night’s football game against Frankfort High School due to an injury. Because of that, he was filming the game for his team when he noticed a young girl in attendance was having a seizure.

Migda sprung into action and ran to help the girl, according to the Associated Press. The 11-year-old girl, identified as Grace Gibson had fallen and hit her head, causing the seizure. She was convulsing when Migda got to her, so he picked her up and ran her over to an athletic trainer while another player called 911.

Gibson was tended to by medical staff and taken to a nearby hospital. She has since returned home and is doing well following the ordeal. Migda said he was sore from the experience as he was sitting out with a groin injury, but is hopeful he’s feeling well enough to play in the homecoming game this week.

And while he’s not happy he’s injured, Migda said it’s all worth it because he was able to help Gibson.

As seen on https://www.mlive.com

Girl, 7, saves mum's life after performing CPR she learned on YouTube: 'She's my hero'

As seen in https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/

A seven-year-old girl has been hailed a hero after she administered emergency CPR on her mum, which she learned by watching videos on YouTube. 

Jessica Kinder was watching a Christmas film when she saw her 32-year-old mum Becky Green collapse to the ground after having a seizure. 

Thinking fast, she grabbed a nearby glass of water and threw it in her mum’s face to “try and wake her up” before straddling her and performing CPR. 

She then took hold of her mum’s phone and attempted to unlock it before realizing she could ring 999 without entering a password or fingerprint. 

Becky, an admin worker for the NHS, woke up being treated by paramedics who told her how incredible her daughter’s actions had been.

“I’m so proud of her – I can’t believe how heroically she acted,” she said. 

“It must have been so stressful for her to see that but she stepped up and tried to save me.

“For a seven-year-old to do that is incredible – she’s my hero.”

Becky’s seizure happened after the mum had dropped her ten-year-old son, Grant, at school and returned home with Jessica, who was off sick. 

“I put a Christmas film on to make Jessica feel better and the last thing I remember is putting a cup of tea down for her, then I passed out,” Becky said. 

“When I woke up the paramedics were here and my little girl was hysterical.”

After being rushed to hospital Becky underwent a number of tests before discovering a week later that she has epilepsy. 

At the time she had the seizure the mum’s condition was undiagnosed, making Jessica’s action’s all the more amazing.

When asked how she knew what to do, Jessica explained she had seen someone perform the life-saving moves on YouTube.

“She likes watching videos and I know that she takes things in quite well but I had no idea she had watched a video about CPR,” Becky explains.  

“If she hadn’t known what to do and acted so quickly who knows what might have happened?”

Becky says doctors think her epilepsy might be linked to an incident 12 years ago when she fell and hit her head, even though nothing like this has happened since then. 

She will find out the full extent of her condition in the coming months. 

Since returning to school Jessica has been given a bravery award and Becky says her daughter now has her sights set on helping others in the future by becoming a doctor or a nurse.

What to do if someone has a seizure

The NHS says should call an ambulance if you know it’s their first seizure or it’s lasting longer than 5 minutes.

Their website has some advice for those who are with someone who has a seizure:

  • only move them if they’re in danger – such as near a busy road or hot cooker
  • cushion their head if they’re on the ground
  • loosen any tight clothing around their neck – such as a collar or tie to – aid breathing
  • when their convulsions stop, turn them so they’re lying on their side – read more about the recovery position
  • stay with them and talk to them calmly until they recover
  • note the time the seizure starts and finishes

As seen in https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/