Tag Archives: seizures

Epilepsy Patients Take Control

Epilepsy, like other chronic medical conditions, leaves affected individuals feeling out of control and isolated, says Shelly Stoll, MPH, of the University of Michigan.

Ms. Stoll, along with colleagues at the university and the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan, developed a program for individuals with epilepsy (IWE) to improve their self-care.

The researchers conducted a pilot study of their intervention and presented the results at the annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society in Baltimore, Md.

The 21 study participants were epilepsy patients aged 21 years and older. They completed telephone interviews at baseline and four months after completing the 6-week intervention.

The FOCUS intervention includes five elements:

-Figure out the problem or issue.

-Observe your routine.

-Choose a change goal.

-Undertake a change strategy.

-Study the results and select a reward.

The intervention included a day-long workshop followed by weekly telephone calls with a coach, some of which were conference calls with other patients.

Although this intervention didn’t reduce the frequency of seizures, the patients showed significant improvement from baseline in terms of quality of life and positive well-being.

The researchers admitted that the study is small and the findings preliminary, but the results merit a larger study with a longer time frame. Ideally, patients who participated in this study will continue to benefit. The researchers quoted one satisfied patient, who said, “I plan to keep moving forward, empowering and taking my life into my hands regardless of how epilepsy has tried to conquer me.”

The study was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Managing Epilepsy Well network.

(Photo courtesy of Lidingo via wikimedia commons (creative commons attribution share-alike license)

–Heidi Splete (On Twitter @hsplete)


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Fear Factor: Sending the Right Messages on Vaccine Safety

Parents don’t need another reason to worry about vaccinating their children. That was the general view during a discussion of febrile seizures at the June meeting of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.


ACIP’s general recommendations working group has a subgroup dedicated to febrile seizures. One job of this subgroup is to review data on what is known about the incidence of febrile seizures associated with various childhood vaccines alone or in combination. The bottom line: the working group decided to recommend that ACIP NOT make a recommendation about vaccination and febrile seizures.

courtesy of flickr user hartland martin (creative commons)

Several presentations included data showing that febrile seizures are neither unusual nor significantly associated with vaccinations. Dr. Andrew Kroger of the CDC acknowledged that data are limited, especially data on the risk/benefit ratios of simultaneous vaccinations and febrile seizures.

“How much risk of influenza and invasive pneumococcal disease are we willing to take with delayed vaccination, in order to prevent the occurrence of febrile seizures?” Dr. Kroger asked.

Ultimately, the working group decided that, for now at least, the issue was “best addressed through messaging,” rather than voting. A majority of the working group recommended that providers should simply inform parents of the increased risk of febrile seizures with concomitant vaccinations but not recommend any delay of vaccination because of it.

This option seemed to go over well during the discussion period.   

“The worst thing we could do is send a message that delaying vaccinations is preferable to preventing febrile seizures,” Dr. Michael Brady, representing the American Academy of Pediatrics, said during the discussion period. 

courtesy of flickr user Jimee, Jackie, Tom & Asha (creative commons)

Dr. Doug Campos-Outcalt, representing the American Academy of Family Physicians, agreed. “It’s important to consider febrile seizure numbers in the context of the disease,” he said.

ACIP member Dr. Janet Englund noted that “for ACIP to mandate discussion of febrile seizures during a visit would be harmful to the [vaccination] process.”

In fact, some data suggest that vaccination has a protective effect on febrile seizures, and such data could be useful when collected over the long term, said Dr. Jeff Duchin, chair of the general recommendations working group.

Hmm. Something else to encourage childhood vaccination. That sounds like a good message.

–Heidi Splete (on twitter @hsplete)

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Video of the Week: Perampanel Reduces Seizure Frequency

Daily adjunctive therapy with the investigational oral drug perampanel significantly reduced the frequency of seizures by 5%-14%, compared with placebo. The data come  from a multinational phase III clinical trial of 388 patients with hard-to-control epilepsy that was presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.

Patients in the study had uncontrolled epilepsy despite being on one to three other antiseizure drugs, and they continued their usual medications during the trial, according to study investigator Dr. Jacqueline A. French.

Our reporter Sherry Boschert talked with Dr. Marc Nuwer, professor of neurology at the University of California, Los Angeles, who said that the most exciting thing about perampanel is that it establishes a new category of drugs.

You can read more about the study by visiting Clinical Psychiatry News online.

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