International Epilepsy Day: Diabetes, cataracts, heart rate

diabetes-suicide-asthma-increase-the-risk-of-suicideFebruary 13 is International Epilepsy Day, and in honor of this event, Bel Marra Health has gathered a collection of articles related to epilepsy, including information on diabetes, cataracts, heart rate, and asthma.

Diabetes, epilepsy, and asthma may increase risk of suicide and self-harm

Diabetes, epilepsy, and asthma may increase the risk of suicide and self-harm. For the study, the researchers compared different psychiatric and physical disorders in England. Along with diabetes, epilepsy, and asthma, other physical illnesses associated with a higher risk of suicide and self-harm included migraines, psoriasis, eczema, and inflammatory polyarthropathies.


Authors Dr. Arvind Singhal and Dr. Jack Ross said, “It is important for physicians, general practitioners, and mental health workers to be aware of the physical disorders that are associated with an increased risk of self-harm so that at-risk individuals may be better identified and can be monitored for any psychiatric symptoms and mental distress.” Continue reading…

cataracts-epilepsy-antidepressants-linked-to-protein-in-the-eyesCataracts, epilepsy, and antidepressant use linked to glutamate receptor proteins in eyes

Cataracts, epilepsy, and antidepressant use are linked to glutamate receptor proteins in the eyes. Corresponding author Peter Frederikse said, “Recent studies identified associations between increased cataracts and epilepsy, and showed increased cataract prevalence with use of antiepileptic drugs as well as some common antidepressants. One common theme linking these observations is that our research showed the most prevalent receptor for the major neurotransmitter in the brain is also present in the lens.”

The researchers found that glutamate receptor proteins—specifically GluA2 subunit—are expressed in the lens and appear to be regulated in a similar fashion in the brain. In the nervous system, GluA receptor proteins promote memory formation and mood regulation, and play a role in the epilepsy pathogenesis. Continue reading…

marijuanaDerivative of marijuana may help hard-to-treat epilepsy

A derivative of marijuana may be used for hard-to-treat epilepsy, based on two clinical trials. The researchers found that cannabidiol (CBD) helped reduce seizure frequency in children and adults with hard-to-treat forms of epilepsy.

The drug is still in its experimental phase and doctors caution that CBD is not a cure for epilepsy. So far, though, the results seem very promising.

A pediatric neurologist not involved in the research, Dr. Amy Brooks-Kayal, explained, “It’s always a good day when we have a potential new option to offer these patients.

CBD is a purified and pharmaceutical-grade version of marijuana and is much different than medical marijuana. CBD does not cause the “high” associated with traditional marijuana and is actually comprised of many different components that can offer health benefits. Continue reading…

epilepsy-seizures-predicted-by-measuring-heart-rateEpilepsy-related seizures can be predicted by measuring heart rate variability

Epilepsy-related seizures can be predicted by measuring heart rate variability. The findings come from researchers in Japan, who found that epileptic seizures may be better predicted using an electrocardiogram to measure fluctuations in the heart rate than by measuring brain activity. This is also effective because wearing a heart monitor is much easier.

Epilepsy is a chronic disease that affects roughly one percent of the population. The disease is characterized by recurrent seizures, which are a result of excessive excitation that suddenly occurs in nerve cells (neurons) in the brain.

Anti-epileptic drugs allow the majority of patients to live a normal life, but some patients are drug-resistant, meaning their seizures cannot be controlled by medications, leaving them living in constant fear of an impending seizure. Being able to predict seizures can offer these patients greater peace of mind. Continue reading…

epilepsy-patients-sleeping-on-stomach-face-sudden-death-riskEpilepsy patients sleeping on stomach face sudden death risk, study

Epilepsy patients who sleep on their stomach face a sudden death risk similar to SIDS (sudden infant death risk), according to research. Study author Dr. James Tao said, “Sudden unexpected death is the main cause of death in uncontrolled epilepsy and usually occurs unwitnessed during sleep.” Among epileptics, the risk of death while asleep is highest among patients with tonic-clonic seizures.


The researchers reviewed 25 studies, which included 253 sudden deaths. Body position during sleep was recorded. The researchers found that 73 percent of sudden deaths occurred in individuals sleeping on their stomach, and the remaining 27 percent accounted for other sleep positions.

Looking at a subgroup of 88 study subjects, the researchers found that individuals under 40 were four times more likely to sleep on their stomachs at the time of sudden death. Continue reading…

Related: Stroke survivors suffering from epilepsy


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