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Medical Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

  1. May 13, 2007 #1
    Can temporal lobe epilepsy be discovered by CT Scan?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 28, 2007 #2
    Wow - I can't believe no one has answered you. Though I'm not at all qualified to speak of diagnosis, I did have a non-epileptic seizure disorder growing up, and I've undergone a number of CT Scans. But from what I've gathered, they aren't looking for direct evidence for epilepsy - instead they're looking for abnormalities that may explain the epilepsy. If they find them (whatever they may be), there is a much better chance that the diagnosis is correct. Do you think you may have epilepsy?
  4. May 28, 2007 #3
    I have both temporal and occipital epilepsy caused by a fall when I was three, but have never had a CT scan. As a result I have also lost my ability to smell which, is very common among cases of temporal epilepsy. However, if I were to guess synapticself made a good guess. CT scans only show damage, not the effects of the damage.

    Back in the seventies hospitals all over the US looked for any excuse to scan someone with a head injury. The machines were new and they needed to build up a database for comparisons. One particularly popular and successful Yale student came in with a volleyball head injury. Upon scanning him they discovered he had suffered from incephilitus as a baby and had less than twenty percent of his brain left.

    Anyway, my point is that brain damage does not necessarilly equate to epilepsy. I had countless electro-encephlagrams done and, even then, they only occationally detected my epilepsy.
  5. May 28, 2007 #4
    Incredible - my disorder also began with a fall (at seven), but I'm unsure if the fall was the cause or if the seizure caused the fall. I had a number of small concussions as a younger child as well but we tend to believe that partial seizures were to blame in some of those instances - this is only speculation of course. Were you officially diagnosed with epilepsy? How frequent were/are your seizures? Were you ever put on anti-convulsants?
  6. May 29, 2007 #5
    Like the vast majority of epileptics I only had seizures during puberty. They started out as petite mal and progressed to grand mal. They always occured ten minutes after I fell asleep. I was given dilantin and barbituates and my seizures occured perhaps once every two weeks.

    I hated using barbituates, but I still use an anti-convulsant as a mood stabilizer.
  7. May 30, 2007 #6
    Ah - right to the heart of the issue. After the initial "shock" of discontinuing my meds, I noticed a number of things that concerned me. The first was that I was emotionally volatile - I had no way of predicting my mood. That prompted me to research the drug a little (Trileptal), and I found that it is indeed used to treat bi-polar disorder. The second thing I noticed was that I was incredibly euphoric. I was remembering all sorts of things from my childhood, and making all sorts of mental connections (thinking much more rapidly, it seemed).

    I've heard that this drug in particular works by inhibiting sodium channels in nerve cells - in effect that would inhibit brain activity in general. What I was experiencing, I assume, was my brain reacting to the sudden ease of accessing my memory. I see no possible mechanism for managing relative levels of the drug within the brain, so this effect would carry on to other brain functions as well. Since being off the medication I notice that I can better concentrate. I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that this would affect the learning process as well.

    From what I've read, dilantin works in a similar manner. If you're using this drug solely to stabalize your moods, I would look into switching to something that works through the inhibition of seratonin reuptake into the presynaptic terminals. Again, I am not an expert, but I see no issues with this method. What it does, essentially, is increase the amount of seratonin absorbed in post-synaptic neurons. Seratonin plays a part in neural plasticity...I see no harm in increasing the efficiency of absorbtion.

    Not to preach - I just prefer to err on the side of caution when it comes to cognition!
  8. May 30, 2007 #7
    I'm taking divalproex as a mood stabilizer.

    However, I have read about new research into how the brain moderates over and under stimulation of the neurons. They've actually traced it back to a single gene and new drug therapies may result.

    In the meantime I limit my caffine intake and avoid other stimulants like the plague.
  9. May 31, 2007 #8
    Hey, if you remember the source of that research, or if you come across anymore - let me know. I'm really starting to get interested in neuroscience and molecular bio.
  10. May 31, 2007 #9
    Hmm. I am doing a neuroscience degree at the moment actually. I have only just started out so this might be really simple and irrelevant stuff for you who suffer from epilepsy especially. Sorry if that is the case. So, here goes pasting up what I think I know from my lecture notes, maybe wikipedia is better:

    From what I understand the main method of diagnosis of suffering from epilepsy is EEG (electroencephalogram) - where electrodes are placed all over the scalp and electrival activity is measured. It can be difficult to detect unless you have your actual seizure whilst being measured. More commonly, a stimulus like a flashing light in the eye is administered, and then unusual activity will be looked for. Epilepsy is basically where the brain is unusually active at the wrong time, and this occurs regularly.

    Also bear in mind that epilepsy isn't really what is diagnosed, epilepsy is a symptom/collection of symptoms rather than a disease. Thats why CT scans are sometimes used, to check for physical damage to the brain that might be causing the epilepsy. So, there are many reasons for epilepsy.

    There are other categories of epilepsy, like partial or generalised (the whole brain is involved in seizure). Generalized sometimes requires partial severance of the corpus callosum which connects the two hemispheres of the brain; resulting in uncoordinated activity. I didn't know that temporal epilepsy would affect your smell wuliheron! Not doubting, just interesting.

    Unfortunately not done much on drugs, but the problem is often side affects. I doubt we are gonna make progress on drug development here so I won't ask about the ins and outs of those drugs. But I do have a question? Has anyone tried herbal type (not homeopathy!) medicine for epilepsy, or something along those lines ? Any results? Has anyone seen anything on herbal medicine for epilepsy?

    I'd be interested to know (don't worry, you aren't doing my coursework or anything!).
    Last edited: May 31, 2007
  11. May 31, 2007 #10
    The new research I cited I found at eurekalert, and I don't know if you can access past posts there. However, I do remember the scientists saying they had managed to shut off a gene in adult mice in order to find this discovery.

    Severing the corpus collosum was made illegal in the US back in the sixties, despite it still being the only way to save lives in some cases. Having two distinct brains/personalities in one person was just too Frankensteinian for the public.

    Sorry, never tried herbal remedies.
  12. Jun 1, 2007 #11
    Yeah, see what I mean, because we just started, not exactly up-to-date! 1960s!

    From what I understand, I don't think it is completely like two different personalities. There is a problem where you can see something, but if someone asked you, you would say you couldn't.

    e.g. A big board which you cannot see past has written BALL. X (with a partially severed corpus callosum) says he cannot see anything written. But when asked to pick up an item at the same time as looking at a board, he chooses the ball, over the pyramid and the cube. This is because his speech cannot relate the information, but he has registered it on the other hemisphere.

    Just so it isn't forgotten - still interested in whether anyone has seen anything herbal for epilepsy...
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2007
  13. Jun 1, 2007 #12
    I've always been fascinated with split-brain patients. You know early on, before these studies (because they seem to function fairly well otherwise) scientists used to joke that the only two things the corpus collosum was good for was holding the hemispheres together and propogating seizures!

    But in the experiment you describe, are you sure the patients weren't looking through a lens covering only one eye, or something similar. For instance, the information would be carried to the left hemisphere via the right eye, if the left eye were left out of the loop, so to speak. At least that's what I've gathered.

    What are you hoping to study specifically, Tosh? Or are you still looking?
  14. Jun 1, 2007 #13
    Split brains can indeed cause two distinct personalities, although it is rare. At times the left and right hands of the individual will actually fight with each other. This is especially hazardous when driving and half the brain wants to go somewhere different from the other.

    I would check into chinese herbs for information on epilepsy. They are one of the most comprehensive and time tested herbal remedy systems.
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