Long Term Effects Of Epilepsy On The Brain – Reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, PhD, PsyD — By Stephanie Watson — Updated May 6, 2019
Epilepsy is a condition that causes seizures – temporary disturbances in the electrical activity of the brain. These electrical disturbances can cause a variety of symptoms. Some people are staring into space, some are making jerky movements, some are unconscious.
Long Term Effects Of Epilepsy On The Brain
Doctors do not know what causes epilepsy. Genetics, brain diseases such as tumors or strokes, and head injuries may be involved in some cases. Because epilepsy is a brain disease, it can affect many different systems throughout the body.
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Epilepsy can be caused by changes in brain development, wiring, or chemicals. Doctors don’t know exactly what causes it, but it can start after an illness or brain damage. The disease disrupts the function of brain cells called neurons, which normally transmit messages in the form of electrical impulses. Interruption of these impulses leads to seizures.
There are many different types of epilepsy, and different types. Some seizures are harmless and barely noticeable. Others can be dangerous. Because epilepsy affects the brain, its effects can be gradual and affect all parts of the body.
It can disrupt the heart’s normal rhythm, causing the heart to beat too slowly, too fast, or irregularly. This is called an arrhythmia. Irregular heartbeats can be very serious, and can be life-threatening. Experts believe that some cases of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) are caused by heart rhythm disturbances.
Problems with blood vessels in the brain can cause epilepsy. The brain needs oxygen-rich blood to function properly. Damage to the blood vessels in the brain, such as the result of a stroke or hemorrhage, can cause a seizure.
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Although most people with epilepsy are able to have children, the condition causes hormonal changes that can affect fertility in both men and women. Sexual problems are
Epilepsy can disrupt a woman’s menstrual cycle, causing her periods to be irregular or stop altogether. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOD) – a common cause of infertility – is more common in women with epilepsy. Epilepsy, and its medications, can lower a woman’s sexuality.
About 40 percent of men with epilepsy have low testosterone, the hormone responsible for sex and sperm production. Epilepsy drugs can decrease libido in men, and affect sperm count.
The condition can also affect pregnancy. Some women experience more pain during pregnancy. It can increase the risk of falls, as can miscarriages and premature births. Epilepsy drugs can prevent addiction, but some of these drugs are associated with an increased risk of disability during pregnancy.
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The autonomic nervous system regulates bodily functions such as breathing. Addiction can disrupt this system, causing temporary cessation of breathing. Interruption of breathing during a seizure can lead to abnormally low oxygen levels, and can cause sudden death in epilepsy (SUDEP).
Epilepsy is a disorder of the central nervous system, which sends messages to the brain and spinal cord to control body functions. Disturbances in electrical activity in the central nervous system cause seizures. Epilepsy can affect both voluntary (under your control) and involuntary (not under your control) nervous system function.
The autonomic nervous system regulates functions that are out of your control – such as breathing, heart rate and digestion. Addiction can cause autonomic nervous system symptoms such as:
The muscles that allow you to walk, jump and lift are under the control of the nervous system. In some types of seizures, the muscles may become tense or stiffer than usual.
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Epilepsy itself does not affect the bones, but the medications you take to manage it can weaken the bones. Bone loss can lead to osteoporosis and can cause injuries – especially if you fall while exercising.
Epilepsy can affect any system in the body. Seizures – and the fear of having them – can cause emotional symptoms such as fear and anxiety. Medicines and surgery can control addiction, but you will get the best results if you start taking them as soon as possible after you are diagnosed.
Has strict research guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical organizations. We do not use tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure that our content is accurate and up-to-date by reading our publication policy. , immune system and inflammation. Advances in sequencing technology have demonstrated the important role of the gut microbiota in several neurological diseases, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. Epilepsy is a complex disease with multiple risk factors that affects more than 50 million people worldwide; nearly 30% of epilepsy patients cannot be controlled with medication. Interestingly, patients with inflammatory bowel disease are prone to epilepsy, and the ketogenic diet is an effective treatment for patients with intractable epilepsy. Based on these clinical facts, the role of the microbiome and the brain axis in epilepsy cannot be ignored. In this review, we discuss the relationship between the gut microbiota and epilepsy, summarize the potential pathogenic mechanisms of epilepsy from the perspective of the gut-brain microbiota axis, and discuss new treatments. targeting the gut microbiota. A better understanding of the role of the microbiota in the brain axis, especially the gut, will help to investigate the mechanism, disease, prognosis assessment and treatment of intractable epilepsy.
Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disease that affects >70 million people worldwide (1) with a significant social and economic burden. Characterized by regression and spontaneous seizures without cause (2), its mechanism is complex, and 60% of cases are idiopathic (3). In clinical practice, diagnosis of epilepsy is difficult. If the patient is frequently infected, diagnostic electrical signs may be missed, and epileptiform discharges may occasionally occur in uninfected patients. The most common antiepileptic treatment is medicine, including cheap drugs and new drugs. However, in >30% of patients with epilepsy, seizures cannot be controlled with drug therapy, a phenomenon known as refractory epilepsy (4). The ad hoc Task Force of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) defined drug resistance as “failure to adequately test a schedule of two well-tolerated, well-chosen, and used antiepileptic drugs (or monotherapy or combined) to achieve long-term seizure freedom” (5 ). Despite other treatments such as diet control, nerve expansion, and surgery, some patients still do not improve. Although the effectiveness of the removal of seizure focus is high, not all patients benefit from it, some show obvious negative effects, and surgery alone may not be enough, due to the complex etiology of epilepsy (6, 7). Therefore, there is a need to develop more effective protocols for the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy.
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Epilepsy patients often have gastrointestinal symptoms, but patients with inflammatory bowel disease are more prone to epilepsy (8). The ketogenic diet (KD) has been used for a long time as a non-pharmacological treatment in drug-resistant epileptic patients who are unfit for surgery-especially in children-with positive effects on the treatment (9). These clinical phenomena support the relationship between the gut and epilepsy. Recent advances in sequencing technology have enabled studies of microbiota composition and neurological function. In recent years, some studies have suggested statistical differences in the composition of fecal microbes between epilepsy patients and healthy people, as well as between epilepsy patients before during and after KD treatment, and in animal models (10-21). Intestinal microbiota may shape brain function through various pathways and systems, including the central nervous system (CNS), the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, the immune and inflammatory, and neuromodulators, and may also be involved. epilepsy (Figure 1). Rebuilding the gut microbiota through specific diets, probiotics, antibiotics, and even faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) may be a future standard treatment for refractory epilepsy. Here we review the latest knowledge on the relationship between the gut microbiota (GM) and epilepsy.
Figure 1 The microbiota-gut-brain axis in epilepsy. Bad gut microbiota can increase the production of epilepsy-promoting metabolites, the secretion of inflammatory factors, and so on, which leads to an abnormal GABA/glutamate ratio and then causes epilepsy. Chronic stress can be a factor in this process. A healthy gut microbiota can produce good metabolites, such as SCFA and serotonin, which can prevent epilepsy. The HPA axis, the enteric nervous system, and the vagus nervous system are involved in the relationship between gut microbiota and epilepsy. ACTH, adrenocorticotropic hormone; AED, antiepileptic drug; CRF, corticotropin-releasing factor; HPA, Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal; GABA, γ-aminobutyric acid; KD, ketogenic diet; MAMP, microbe-associated molecular pattern; SCFA, short-chain fatty acid; PRR, recognition receptor.
Epilepsy is a complex disease with a complex etiology (structural, genetic, infectious, metabolic, immune, and unknown) and diverse clinical manifestations (1, 22). Due to its complexity, in 2017, the ILAE created a three-level classification, including types of seizures, types of epilepsy and epilepsy syndromes (22). Epilepsy can be divided into four categories: focal epilepsy, generalized epilepsy, generalized and focal epilepsy, and undiagnosed epilepsy (22). According to their response to antiepileptic drugs, epilepsy can be divided into drug-sensitive and refractory epilepsy. Together, the