National Epilepsy Awareness Month 2017: Raising Awareness about self-management and treatment options

cannibidiol-epilepsyAs a part of National Epilepsy Awareness Month 2017, we at Bel Marra want to give our readers all the information they need to begin their journey of knowledge. It is estimated that one in 150 people who have uncontrolled seizures will die from a sudden unexpected episode of epilepsy. This statistic could be reduced if caregivers and people around those with epileptic conditions know how to recognize the condition, to either provide aid for themselves or to seek someone who can. The following are some of our best articles discussing the topic.

Cannabidiol seen to provide overall improvement for severe epilepsy patients

Seizures are often dramatized on television and in movies—they depict a person collapsing to the ground while they convulse (shake), contracting every muscle in their body. While this can be the case, not all seizures look like this, as some can take on a more subdued presentation. But seizures, in general, are the symptom of a brain problem, happening suddenly due to abnormal electrical brain activity. Treatment usually includes the implementation of powerful sedative drugs with variable levels of effectiveness, however, researchers have found that the use of cannabidiol—a chemical component of cannabis—can significantly reduce seizure activity. Continue reading

ketogenic-diet-safe-and-effective-for-those-with-severe-epilepsyKetogenic diet safe and effective for those with severe epilepsy


A ketogenic diet based on high-fat and low-carbohydrate consumption has been found to help patients who suffer from super-refractory status epilepticus (SRSE)—a severe and often fatal form of epilepsy—in a new study from Johns Hopkins and their colleagues. SRSE is characterized by prolonged and severe seizures that require medically-induced comas in order to prevent additional damage to the brain and body.
The ketogenic diet was found to be effective in treating approximately one third of adult patients with epilepsy who are resistant to anti-seizure medications, and researchers set out to determine if this held true in the most severe cases as well. 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 stomach face 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. 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 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. Continue reading

epilepsy-risk-linked-to-type-1-diabetesEpilepsy affects nearly 30 percent autism spectrum disorder (ASD) patients

The risk of epilepsy has been found to be linked to type 1 diabetes. The findings suggest that individuals with type 1 diabetes have triple the risk of developing epilepsy – a condition characterized by seizures – compared to individuals without type 1 diabetes. Additionally, the researchers found that type 1 diabetics under the age of six are most likely to develop epilepsy – their risk is nearly six times higher, compared to children without diabetes.
The highest risk group among type 1 diabetics were children with low blood sugar – hypoglycemia – as their risk of epilepsy was 16.5 times higher. Continue reading


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