Thursday, November 20, 2008

November is Epilepsy Month

A reminder, November is Epilepsy Month. We encourage everyone to support and participate in the upcoming marathon and walk sponsored by the Epilepsy Foundation of Louisiana!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Why we need epilepsy education

I saw a woman in the emergency room recently. It's an unfortunate story, and all too common. A young adult, she has had seizures since her teens. She takes her medicines.....sometimes. We couldn't find any trace of them in her blood, though.

And so, she had a bunch of seizures over a couple of days, and banged her head up pretty bad, and they had to call a neurosurgeon to see if she was going to be OK. Seems such a waste.

But before you get feeling high and mighty, think of the last time the doc gave you an antibiotic that had to be taken four times a day, and how good a job you did with that. Very few take them as prescribed even for a week! This is one of those sticky subjects where we have to balance encouraging personal responsiblity with compassion and understanding. We have to look for more ways to make the treatment and prevention of seizures less of a detriment to peoples lives. It really is hard for a young person who is otherwise normal to accept the need for such a hassle on such a frequent basis. Especially when sometimes they get away with skipping! we want "no seizures, no side effects!" (no, i don't get any money from CURE, they just have a great slogan)

Anyway, i just wanted to point out that the Epilepsy Foundation of Louisiana has a committee that formed to address the care of people in the state that don't have any financial resources. As part of the overall plan, they are constructing suggestions for a rotating or mobile educational program that would be offered throughout the state. Stay tuned, it isn't really very fleshed out yet, but it would be a very important service. I hope there will be significant public comment and involvement in the process, because "knowing is half the battle."

Monday, November 3, 2008

The reason to consider surgery

While the purpose of the site is more general, the author has a decided interest in surgery! Also, my patients are the most likely to be looking for answers to certain questions, so I find it good from time to time to address broad, general ideas that help put the specific questions into context.

Please note: THIS SITE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE SPECIFIC MEDICAL ADVICE TO ANY PATIENT. If you have any specific questions about your case and want to talk to me, just call and make an appointment. I'd love to see you as a physician and try to help. Here, though, I'm just a fellow human sharing some general ideas and knowledge about a topic I love.

To boil the argument for surgery down to about as simple as it gets, most people who continue to have seizures after starting on drugs, continue to have seizures on drugs. The only way to cure the seizures in most of these patients is to find the source, determine if it can be safely removed, and if so, take it out. In certain epilespys, many quote a seizure free rate of about 80%. Randomized, controlled trials have shown lower rates, but clearly better outcomes than medical management alone.

CURE, an organization dedicated to fighting epilepsy, is known for the slogan "no seizures, no side effects," a truly wonderful goal. While the side effects of seizure surgery are usually minimal compared to the quality of life issues associated with continued seizures, the risks of catastrophic problems are always present, and must be explicitly considered. Over coming months, i will talk more specifically about many of these issues.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Epilepsy Foundation Launches Internet Fundraiser.

November is Epilepsy Awareness month, and I would like to point out that the Epilepsy Foundation of Louisiana has launched their first ever internet fundraiser. Called the "The Power of One" Campaign, it encourages people to donate one dollar, but also to spread the word, and encourage their friends to each give a dollar, and in turn encourage their friends to do the same. The Foundation, which has been working since hurricane Katrina not only to restore all services in southeast Lousiana, but to extend to serve the entire state, is hopeful that these new forms of fundraising will help to offset the fact that granting organizations have not been as generous to the area as Katrina fades into the past. I encourage anyone who is interested in being involved in this fundraiser to go to: .