National Epilepsy Month 2016: Asthma, cataracts, migraine with aura, autism, and type 1 diabetes

diabetes-suicide-asthma-increase-the-risk-of-suicideNovember is National Epilepsy Month, so we present our posts discussing epilepsy as well as the associated risk factors and complications, including asthma, cataracts, migraine with aura, autism, and type 1 diabetes.

Epilepsy causes seizures resulting from a short change in normal brain activity. There are two main types of seizures in epilepsy: generalized and partial. Generalized seizures affect both sides of the brain, while partial seizures only affect one area of the brain.

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


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 migraine, 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-epilepsyCataracts, epilepsy, and antidepressant use linked to glutamate receptor proteins in eyes: Study

Cataracts, epilepsy, and antidepressant use 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…

migraine-with-aura-epilepsyMigraine with aura and epilepsy share genetic link

Migraine with aura and epilepsy have been found to share a genetic link. The findings, published in Epilepsia, found that a strong family history of seizures was associated with higher incidences of migraines with aura.

There is much evidence that supports a coexistence of migraine and epilepsy, and previous findings revealed that epilepsy patients are at a higher risk of suffering from migraines, but a shared genetic cause was never established previously.

Lead author Dr. Melodie Winawer said, “Epilepsy and migraine are each individually influenced by genetic factors. Our study is the first to confirm a shared genetic susceptibility to epilepsy and migraine in a large population of patients with common forms of epilepsy.” Continue reading…

epilepsy-autism-spectrum-disorderEpilepsy affects nearly 30 percent autism spectrum disorder (ASD) patients

Epilepsy affects nearly 30 percent of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) patients. On the other hand, many patients with epilepsy display ASD-like behavior. Studies have shown that epileptic seizures impair the neural pathways required for socialization, but the details of this process are unknown.
Four studies have investigated the in-depth relationship between epilepsy and ASD, revealing biological mechanisms that could aid treatment for patients with both disorders.


Researchers examined the electroencephalogram (EEG) videos and records of 53 children and adults diagnosed with ASD and epilepsy. There were 50 abnormal EEG videos in the 53 cases studied. The videos indicated that 40 percent of the patients had focal epilepsy, 30 percent had generalized epilepsy, 25 percent had both focal and generalized epilepsy, and five percent had an unclear diagnosis. Continue reading…

epilepsy-risk-type-1-diabetesEpilepsy risk linked to type 1 diabetes

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…