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Gina St. Aubin

When children are diagnosed with Autism, parents quickly become aware that the identification of Sensory Processing Disorder is likely not far behind.  If a diagnosis has not been made, many SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) behaviors may still be exhibited regardless of intensive or focused therapies needed.  What is not as widely known is that children on the spectrum may also have epilepsy.

In a 2005 study conducted by Lidia Gabis, John Pomeroy, and Mary R. Andriola entitled “Autism and epilepsy: Cause, consequence, comorbidity, or coincidence?”, the researchers found that children diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) who also had “significant cognitive impairment are at a higher risk to have some form of epilepsy.”  Forty percent of children with autism in this study were also diagnosed with epilepsy. That’s 40% of children in one study!  

This would coincide with reports of many parents that regressions occur with no known reason or that therapy that once was effective is no longer beneficial for their child.  Some parents even report that their child is a ‘different person than the day before’…sometimes the hour before. The thought of epilepsy as being a part of the puzzle of Autism may be furthest from consideration since most people think of epilepsy as an obvious manifestation, as in a grand mal seizure.  However, epilepsy comes in many forms. 

Read in Full:  http://www.examiner.com/special-needs-parents-in-national/autism-and-epilepsy-a-missed-connection

 

National Epilepsy Awareness Month: causes and descriptions of seizures

  • November 16th, 2010 10:09 pm ET

Over three million people in the United States have epilepsy, with 200,000 new cases added every year, according to the Epilepsy Foundation. There are only 5.3 neurologists per 1000 people with epilepsy in the state of Georgia. This means a little under 200 patients per neurologist. Not all neurologists have the skills and training to treat people with epilepsy.

What causes a seizure disorder or syndrome?

  • High fever in infants and small children
  • Severe blow to the head resulting in a subdural hematoma
  • Stroke
  • CNS infection
  • Uremia
  • Substance abuse and withdrawal
  • Genetics
  • Lack of oxygen during birth
  • Brain tumors
  • Meningitis
  • Lead poisoning

This is not a complete list of all causes of epilepsy or seizure disorder. Research is discovering new causes and new medications to better control seizures. Severe seizures can lead to loss of quality of life, permanent brain damage, and even death.

Types:

  1. Absense: This seizure is easily mistaken for daydreaming in young children ages four to twelve. There may be hundreds of seizures every day in which consciousness is lost for three to 24 seconds. The primary symptom, according to Symptom Find, is an apparent lack of attention to the task at hand. There may be particular body ticks, such as lip-smaking or eyelid spasms. The person may drop whatever they are holding. The majority of people have no knowledge of ever having had a seizure.
 
 

Epilepsy on the Frontier – My Story

  • November 9th, 2010 9:40 pm MT

This is National Epilepsy Month. Most of my readers know me as a journalist, social worker, politician, or musician. I am all of those things. I am also a person with epilepsy. I had my first seizure at age 11. This is a glimpse into my story in recognition of National Epilepsy Month.

When I was a child, my parents told me frequently not to tell anyone I had epilepsy – we never even used the word at home – it was taboo. It was acceptable to say I had migraines or strained muscles – side effects of seizure activity. It was okay to need a tutor in Math because I just couldn’t get it – not because I would skip steps when my brain blipped. It made me feel bad about myself and let others think I, with a Mensa IQ, was just plain stupid.

When I went off to college I rebelled. I joined the Independent Living Movement, an off-shoot of the civil rights movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s. I spoke out about being a person with a disability and the right to live and work integrated into the community. That cost me too. Prior to the Americans With Disabilities Act, I remember getting fired from a white-collar job. Although my seizures were at the time under control, the employer said it was too much of a liability for me to remain employed. Later I had a child, a beautiful baby who has grown into a a magnificent adult. I knew the supports I needed and arranged for them yet because I was vocal about my epilepsy I lived through the scrutiny of federally and state funded childrens services who routinely, at that time, reviewed the fitness of all parents with epilepsy. Although I quickly passed their checkpoint, it was not without the humiliation of caseworkers judging my fitness while convicted crank dealers down the street were left to their own vices with their children.

Now as a middle-aged adult, I have taken a middle ground. Perhaps I have adopted the Ecclesiastes approach to epilepsy.

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens.”

Read in Full:  http://www.examiner.com/economy-in-billings/epilepsy-on-the-frontier-my-story

 Epilim anti-epilepsy tablets containing a mixture of the drugs sodium valproate and volproic acid.

Epilim, the anti-epilepsy medicine containing sodium valproate and, in its controlled release Chrono formulation, valproic acid. Photograph: Mark Thomas/Science Photo Library

Epilim: the anti-epilepsy drug at centre of legal case

Medicine important in treating epilepsy, migraines and bipolar disorder, but not recommended for women of childbearing age

James Meikle

guardian.co.uk, Monday 8 November 2010 14.33 GMT

Epilim, the drug under scrutiny in a test case expected to be abandoned at the high court next week, remains an important drug in the treatment of epilepsy, migraines and bipolar disorder.

In all, it is probably taken by 200,000 people in the UK although the manufacturers say it is no longer recommended as a first choice epilpesy treatment for women of childbearing age.

Women who take Epilim, the brand name for sodium valproate, are at a slightly greater risk of having difficulties conceiving or of having a child with disabilities than those on other treatments, according to the charity Epilepsy Action.

Regulators say the drug’s manufacturers provide clear warnings over potential risks, but lawyers for families of children alleged to have been affected claim the company was slow to do so.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, responsible for drug safety in the UK, told the Guardian: “Epilepsy is a serious neurological condition and it is important that is treated effectively, including during pregnancy. It is widely recognised that women who take anti-epileptics during pregnancy have a higher risk of having a child with a birth defect than women in the general population – it is estimated that the risk of 2-3 times higher. The likelihood of having a child with birth defects is further increased if the woman takes more than one anti-epileptic medicine during pregnancy.”

It said all anti-epilepsy medicines carried clear warnings about the safety of their use during pregnancy and the potential risk of birth defects.

“For sodium valproate the product information advises about the potential for birth defects and recommends that any woman taking sodium valproate who is likely to become pregnant should receive specialist advice on these risks. There is also a recommendation that if taken during pregnancy sodium valproate should be used as monotherapy at the lowest effect dose.”

It also recommended the use of folic acid prior to pregnancy to help reduce the risk of having a baby with spina bifida, which was one of the birth defects seen in children whose mothers took sodium valproate during pregnancy. Other defects included: head and face deformities, including cleft palate; deformities of the bones, including hip dislocation; malformations of the arms and legs; deformities of the tube from the bladder to the penis; heart and blood vessel malformations, including heart defects; and defects of the lining of the spinal cord.

Read in Full:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/nov/08/epilim-anti-epilepsy-drug

 



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