Epilepsy, Neurology, and Life Links

How might surgery impact an individual’s emotional cognition? One possibility that merits research involves the use of music to approximate the areas of the brain for processing emotional perception. For further details, see Dr. Hatcher’s opinion piece in the Journal of Psychology and Clinical Psychiatry. For a discussion of where olfaction could be useful see this website’s page on the topic.

Coronal view of dissected brain through cerebellum, temporal lobe and frontal lobes
19th Century brain diagram from
A Series of Anatomical Plates: with References and Physiological Comments, Illustrating the Structure of the Different Parts of the Human Body by Jones Quain 1843

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Numerous organizations and web sites provide information and advice to people with epilepsy. One particular web page from the Texas Children’s Hospital hosts an array of useful ones. These include the American Epilepsy Society which hosts a find a doctor search tool. The National Association of Epilepsy Centers hosts another extensive list of information sources that also includes groups and topics such as the Batten Disease Support and Research Association, the Dravet Syndrome Foundation, the Alcardi Syndrome Foundation, the CDC and others. Women who are or are seeking to become pregnant might wish to visit this site by Harvard Medical School. which includes further links related to pregnancy from organizations in America, Canada, the United Kingdom, which also cover mental health in addition to epilepsy.

Other Links of Interest

Stress is very commonly considered to trigger or foster seizures. Infrequently, music can also serve as a seizure trigger, but particular kinds of music can also reduce stress levels. Weightless by Marconi Union, was purposefully composed for stress relief. You might enjoy it.

Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson said, “‘Weightless’ was so effective, many women became drowsy and I would advise against driving while listening to the song because it could be dangerous.”

Melanie Curtin has a play list of popular music similarly collected for relaxation.

Support the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Check out the book by Blaine Sims, Something About Sammy. All net profits are donated to the above groups. The family of the late actor, Cameron Boyce, has also set up a site in support of epilepsy and specifically fighting SUDEP (sudden unexpected death in epilepsy) which took Cameron’s life.

Phenomenon by Remedios Varo

PROGRESS IN THE MEDICAL FIELD – A medical journal article worth attention is “Involvement of Psychiatrists in Epilepsy Treatment Helps not only Neurologists but also Psychiatrists Themselves ” written by Dr. Kousuke Kanemoto of the Neuropsychiatric Department at the Aichi Medical University in Japan. The following quote of him echoes ToTS:

How many psychiatrists in the world are now interested in epilepsy? Although the precise number is not known, undoubtedly those who are actively involved in epilepsy treatment constitute an overwhelming minority. In addition, the number of neurologists who are interested in psychiatric issues, though they are also few, is greater than the number of psychiatrists willing to join in epilepsy treatment. Until the middle of the 20th century, the boundary between neurology and psychiatry was not so strict, and every good psychiatrist was inevitably also a neuropsychiatrist who needed to be versed in brain issues. We need only to remember Wernicke, a founder of modern aphasiology as well as a pioneering investigator of depersonalization. Furthermore, in Europe, the remnants of the traditional position of neuropsychiatrist clearly remain in related scientific journals such as L’Encéphale, Nervenarzt, and Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery Psychiatry.

Why is epileptology a field of medicine in which a psychiatric approach is particularly needed? The primary reason is obvious. Twenty to thirty percent of patients with epilepsy are known to have miscellaneous psychiatric illnesses, thus involvement of psychiatrists is mandatory in serious cases. Among others, the following illnesses are clinically important because of seriousness or frequency; psychosis, depressive states, psychogenic nonepileptic seizure (PNES), and personality change.

Surgeon's hands with scalpel which subconsciously appear similar to Leonardo Da Vinci's Creation of Adam or surgeon playing God.
Evocative of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Creation of Adam? Is the operating room the same place of life as the Sistine Chapel? Whose judgement should we question? From A Text-book on Surgery: General, Operative, and Mechanical. J.A. Wyeth, c1897 New York: Appleton

A variety of seizure monitoring devices are becoming available for use in the home. Several such devices (not specifically endorsed by this site) include Nightwatch or the Empatica. The Epilepsy Foundation has a video (2015) discussing several products.

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school girl having an epileptic seizure in class
A cut away of an image decrying the perceived connection between parental alcoholism and epilepsy in children. The image showing a schoolgirl having a dramatic seizure appears in a French series of anti-alcohol posters Fils d’Émile Deyrolle in the early twentieth century (edited by Gustave Philippon and Dr. Legrain). In fact, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders include an increased risk of epilepsy.

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