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 specifically for an individual. 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 own page on profiling emotional laterality in the brain using odors.

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

Professional sites listed below are not endorsed by, or connected to tackingonthestyx . com. They are strictly for perusal.

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 links to professional epilepsy societies, federal resources, childhood epilepsy foundations, and many others . These include the American Epilepsy Society which hosts a physician web search tool. The National Association of Epilepsy Centers hosts another extensive list of epilepsy 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.

Workplace accommodation specifically for epilepsy concerns both workers and employers. A great source of advice and education can be found at the Job Accommodation Network.

What is a session with a psychologist like for someone with a mental challenge that isn’t epilepsy? Most of us probably have a notion of a patient reclining on a couch with a Freudian figure seated near the head. This can be typical or not, but for the sake of adding background to how counseling works, an article from The Guardian, “What I’ve learned from 10 years in therapy”, by Hannah Booth, is certainly of interest. In it, she describes what a session is like, how it is conducted and the nature of some topics discussed.

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 similarly collected play list of relaxation music.

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 curing epilepsy and fighting SUDEP (sudden unexpected death in epilepsy) which took Cameron’s life.

Are you interested in Japanese manga or graphic novels? Drop-in to Manga is a personal blog of Tony Yao with detailed reviews of manga specifically pertaining to mental illnesses.

Phenomenon by Remedios Varo

Epilepsy tops the list of stigmatizing conditions – edging out mental illnesses and racial status. However, combinations of the above really bring a person misery as this incident between a store owner and a person of color having a seizure demonstrate.

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 the Nightwatch device or the Embrace2 monitor. The Epilepsy Foundation has a video describing several seizure monitoring devices (2015).

schoolgirl having an epileptic seizure in class presumably caused by family history of alcoholism
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.

And has stigma gone away?

People with epilepsy always rank high among “undesirables” whom a despotic and genocidal regime wants to purge. As recent US history shows, America’s tolerance for stigmatizing persons with any kind of cognitive pathology is too high. “It can’t happen here,” is a dangerous attitude to have, as the website from the Holocaust Museum shows. Joseph Abraham’s Kings, Conquerors, Psychopaths is reviewed in this website’s book review page. He writes a chilling dissertation of the need to filter our attitudes to any and all governments carefully (in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s elimination of a woman’s sovereignty over her own body, one wonders if those of us with epilepsy will retain veto power over people who would too quickly perform surgery upon us).

From an opposite pole of society, associating even people in power with epilepsy highlights how the disease’s social aura is intended to denigrate a person (even the villainous). From a June 1, 2022 Yahoo article citing The New Voice of Ukraine, a psychiatrist remarks that Vladimir Putin has an ‘epileptic personality disorder‘ which is an historically very derogatory charge. The disorder has been discredited within the American medical community and elsewhere for decades, and I have never seen the stigmatizing term before in contemporary media.

The psychiatrist, referred to only as Dolynskyi, portrays epilepsy as the gateway to evil:

According to him, in everyday life, these kinds of people can have a violent affective reaction, if, in their opinion, something is not in its proper place. People like this boss everyone around, because, in their opinion, they are the only ones that can ever be right. They cannot accept the chaos of the world, so this is their way of keeping order, Dolynskyi explained.

At the same time, he notes, people with epileptic personality disorder cannot accept criticism and often react violently to it, because it destroys the picture of the order they want to impose.

It is very disturbing to see such language used about anyone. In light of the fact that Putin is now seen as a war criminal intent on transforming Russia into an international pariah, making an association between epilepsy and the causation of a military aggressor’s reprehensible behavior is exceedingly disturbing. We have more than enough stigma such as things are.

student reading manga
From Plain Home Talk by E.B. Foote, 1896

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