Epilepsy

Goals

To understand the standard, as well as non-standard treatments, for epilepsy. This is to better understand the options for a 9-month-old girl that was diagnosed with epilepsy. To obtain knowledge, on a high level, on what epilepsy is to enable someone to speak to medical experts in an assured way. Additionally, to understand any causes of epilepsy, whether there is a cure, and some of the best neurologists for kids and why they are considered the best.

Early Findings

  • Please note: the word "emphilepsia" was provided in the chat transcript and after extensive research we have determined that this word does not exist, therefore we are assuming this was a simple spelling error. If we are wrong, please advise us in any reply.
  • Cure's mission is to "find a cure for epilepsy, by promoting and funding patient-focused research."
  • According to Cure, "Epilepsy, also called seizure disorder, is a diverse group of neurological disorders of varying types and severities which are characterized by recurrent seizures. When a person has had two or more seizures which have not been provoked by specific events such as trauma, infection, fever or chemical change, they are considered to have epilepsy. An estimated 65 million people worldwide currently live with epilepsy. One in 26 Americans will develop epilepsy in their lifetime."
  • Epilepsy and seizures can develop in any person regardless of age or gender, but new cases are most common in children, especially in the first year of life.
  • Causes of epilepsy vary by age of the person. Many without a clear cause of epilepsy may have a genetic form. One-third of children with autism spectrum disorder may have seizures. Infections are also common causes of epilepsy. "However, in approximately 50% of patients with epilepsy, the cause is unknown, or “idiopathic.”"
  • Epilepsy is considered a brain disorder, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), though some researchers have suggested it could be classified as a neurodegenerative disease like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. In fact, there is research that suggests a genetic link between epilepsy and neurodegenerative diseases.
  • About 1 in 100 people in the U.S. has had a single unprovoked seizure or has been diagnosed with epilepsy.
  • Listen to an interview on Georgia Public Broadcasting with Rosemarie Kobau MPH of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Dr. Joe Sirven, epilepsy.com's editor-in-chief, about the number of people living with epilepsy in the U.S.
  • There is no known cure for epilepsy. However, the most common case in which seizures may disappear forever is in children who simply "outgrow" their epilepsy as their brains grow and mature. For example, with benign rolandic epilepsy or childhood absence epilepsy, the seizures are expected to disappear by puberty. In other cases it's harder to predict, but if a child's seizures are completely controlled for at least two years, a follow up brain wave test, or EEG, is normal, and the child's health is good overall, then the doctor and parents may decide to carefully reduce and even stop the seizure medication. In many cases, the seizures never return, but if they do, the medication is restarted.
  • "A unique procedure gives a Charlotte teen with epilepsy a fighting chance to have a life without seizures. Pediatric epileptologist Jennifer Zurosky determined Dylan Miller was a good candidate for the surgery that would change his life."
  • "Cade Eickmeyer is 27-months-old. He’s had 22 epileptic seizures." He has a severe epilepsy gene mutation called SCN1a.
  • A new, well-funded joint venture involving Pfizer (PFE) and Bain Capital called Cerevel, is in advanced clinical trials for an epileptic drug. Its GABA A positive modulator drug candidate targets GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid) neurotransmitters that block impulses between nerve cells in the brain, helping keep the nervous system chill.
  • A group of neurologists at the Medical University of South Carolina developed a new method based on artificial intelligence to predict which patients will see success with surgical procedures designed to stop seizures.
  • Psychology Today reported that the device, Embrace Watch, received FDA approval earlier this year for seizure control in children after getting the green light for the technology for adults in 2018.
  • "Officials with the FDA have approved a New Drug Application for UCB’s midazolam (Nayzilam) nasal spray CIV, an antiepileptic drug (AED) for treating intermittent, stereotypic episodes of frequent seizure activity, according to the company. The drug is indicated for seizures that are distinct from a patient's usual seizure pattern, in individuals age 12 years and older with epilepsy."
  • "Some children develop epilepsy as a result of their brain being injured in some way. This could be due to a severe head injury, difficulties at birth, or an infection which affects the brain such as meningitis. Epilepsy with a known structural cause like this is sometimes called symptomatic epilepsy."

Summation Of The Availability Of Information Relevant To The Goals

  • In our initial hour of research we provided information, on a high-level, as well as some granular information, on what epilepsy is and what causes it. We also firmly established that at this point in time, there is no known cure for epilepsy, the way a doctor would cure something with antibiotics. We also provided a few standard and non-standard treatments for epilepsy.
  • We did not have enough time to really delve into the standard and non-standard treatments for epilepsy, or to provide a list of some of the best neurologists for kids, and why they are considered the best.
  • Please select one or more of the options provided in the proposed scoping section below.

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