It has emerged that the latest research undertaken at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School could change the way we develop epilepsy treatments.
Individuals with epilepsy often used medications in an attempt to reduce their seizures or in fact, stop them entirely. Whilst 70% of people with epilepsy in the UK experience positive changes with the right treatment, the remaining thirty per cent of individuals find that medications cannot control their epilepsy.
Therefore many individuals turn to alternative treatments such as specific diets or more evasive solutions such as vagus nerve stimulation or brain surgery. However, as initially mentioned new developments could change the way seizures are controlled. Read here for more information:
A Brief Introduction To Epilepsy
Did you know that more than 50 million people worldwide are living with epilepsy and 600,000 of those are in the UK alone?
Epilepsy is a neurological condition which is often marked by seizures and other recurrent episodes such as sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, and convulsions. Such seizures take place when there is a sudden burst of intense electrical activity causing a temporary disruption to the way that the brain normally works.
Unfortunately epilepsy is not a rare condition, and even with today?s medication cannot be cured. Therefore Anti-Epilepsy Drugs (AEDs) are the main type of treatment for the majority of individuals with epilepsy.
However, for 30% of people with epilepsy their seizures cannot be controlled by medication alone. Therefore there are a number of alternative solutions available from brain surgery to light therapy.
Latest Findings In Behavioural Therapy
It has been announced that a new form of behavioural therapy can aid in the management of seizures for individuals who have epilepsy. Developed by neuroscientist Yoko Nagai at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School, more than 50% of participants experienced positive change.
Nagai explains that seizures are often connected to a person?s emotional, mental or physical state, with stress and anxiety reported as common triggers. She therefore believes that we have the ability to control theses states of mind, with a little help, ourselves.
Working to target patients who are resistant to AEDs, Nagai teaches them to train their brains to be more alert to symptoms associated with epilepsy. Having seen a vast reduction in seizure frequency by more than 50% in the test group, she is now developing a digital form of therapy which will allow a much wider range of people to learn the technique.
Autonomic Cognitive Rehabituation Training
Using both physiological and psychological approaches, Autonomic Cognitive Rehabituation Training (ACRT) develops skills to control epileptic seizures.
Titled Biofeedback, the therapy works by monitoring body signals that we are not usually aware of such as blood pressure and brainwaves. These signals are then displayed on a screen allowing individuals to see them change and in turn enabling themselves to become more sensitive to these reactions and controlling the body?s state of alertness.
This alertness helps patients to calm their brain, reducing the incidence of seizures.
Current participants have likened the therapy to playing a computer game but using your mind and body instead of controls. Using electrodermal activity which detects changes in the bodily state of alertness using sensors on the skin, two electrodes are place on the individuals fingers to measure biological feedback.
The majority of the studies conducted using electrodermal activity have focused on people with temporal lobe epilepsy thus far. More studies are set to continue for varying seizures types.
Dr. Yoko Nagai hopes to develop self-contained therapy packages to enable people with epilepsy to access this therapy at home. Raising money through crowd funding efforts she hopes to be able to continue this research before making it widely available.
?I have been helping people with epilepsy face-to-face over the last 15 years, my frustration was only a few people can be treated at a time. I am very motivated to be able to disseminate my therapy to many more patients who can benefit from this non-invasive, effective, accessible, and affordable therapy?.
More Help and Information
These latest developments in alternative methods to control the effects of epilepsy could be hugely beneficial to individuals who are resistant to AEDs.
Whether you are interested in the behavioural therapy or not, you may also be in need of assistive technology to ensure the safe keeping and peace of mind for yourself or the individual you care for. Why not take a look at our Ep-iT range of alarms and monitors which have been designed to detect signs of oncoming seizures. For more information and advice call our team on 0845 217 9552 or 01530 231215