Sunday, June 3, 2012

Divertissement: Epilepsy

Lately, we’ve been looking at ways a Pinnacle-like organization can exert their will on an unwitting world through subterfuge, lies, and propaganda.

This week I feel led to take a little side-trip to a more serious topic, one that has impacted my life in more ways than appropriate, and that is Epilepsy and other Seizure Disorders.

You see, recently the son of one of my Muse sisters was diagnosed with epilepsy. Another dear friend and Muse sister has a different type of seizure disorder. My younger daughter has been struggling against epilepsy most of her life. My younger sister also had epilepsy, and it is featured at various points in both mine and my wife’s family trees.

One reason I want to discuss this is because so many people have no idea what epilepsy is, or understand the dangers of a seizure disorder or what happens. So as I’ve had fourteen years plus of up-close and personal experience, I want to do my part to help you understand just a little more about it.

First, let’s look at the brain: six billion neurons and synapses, all holding within them who we are, thoughts, personality, sensory analysis, and the command center for the body. Each body function or command is centered in a different part of the brain. Speech, taste, vision, intuition, creativity, etc. all have a “home” in a different corner of that grey miracle inside our skulls.

The brain operates on electricity generated naturally within the body via a delicate balance of Sodium and Potassium. This activity can be measured and recorded in a process called an Electroencephalogram, or EEG. Thirty-two tiny wires are attached to the skull with conductive paste, and the brain’s electrical activity is read. Normally, the brain operates on about 250 microvolts of electrical charge, and these six billion neurons are all firing signals at each other as they receive impulses from the rest of the body in a happily random scramble of information.

In an epileptic brain, there are bundles of neurons (brain cells) that occasionally refuse to tow the random line for a variety of reasons, like old head injuries, chemical imbalances, and other causes. These bundles start firing at a higher voltage, and at regular intervals. These are called discharge events, and they come in two types, called “spike” and “wave,” named for the types of patterns they draw on an EEG. The voltage can reach as high as 750 microvolts, which can be dangerous to healthy tissue. In other words, these pulses can and do cause brain damage every time they fire off. In some types of epilepsy, these bundles can cause other bundles to synchronize their activity to the pulse-rhythm as well. The damage cam then spread across the brain like crabgrass, and a seizure is initiated.

Let me say here that there are over forty different types of epilepsy. Forty different ways the brain can go wrong. Seizure activity can show as anything from mild “spacing out” to major tonic-clonic, or “Grand-Mal” seizures that leave the victim a twitching, helpless wreck for up to a minute at a time. Remember, throughout all these events, brain tissue is dying, no matter what the severity of the seizure. And sooner or later, the patient simply runs out of functional brain, and it quits. Early death is common if not treated.

So yeah. Epilepsy and seizure disorders in general are a nassssty sack of Bagginses and we hates them forever (Sorry, Professor Tolkein). Treatment can be tricky. First of all, the neurologist has to determine which type of disorder the patient has, and which medicine to administer (or surgery to perform) to get the seizures under control. Each type of disorder has a different molecular code that will help the cells to maintain their random firing rate, and each of these meds has its own baggage that comes along with it. Dilantin, Phenobarbital, Carbatrol, Zonegran, and Topamax are just a few of these. Implanting a vagus nerve stimulator is like a pacemaker for the brain that calms the signal pattern and restores the random pattern of the brain.

In any case, a vigorous vitamin regimen can help to restore the damage done. Folic acid, Vitamins B, C, and D, Citric Acid, and Omega-3 fatty acids promote healing and proper neural health. Zinc, Chromium Picolinate, and magnesium are minerals that also play an important part.

Anyway, thanks for hearing me out. If one person reads this and finds the information useful in any way, the hassle is well worth it. As someone in an Epilepsy Foundation ad once said, “Time lost is brain lost.


  1. Cyprus thanks for the education into this subject. Good luck to all who have it. Marian

  2. Thank you for the information and for sharing your own personal experience. It not only affects the patient but the people who love them. All the best.