Brain Injury & Epilepsy, Brain Injury Latest Medical News, Brain Injury Legislative News, Brain Injury Veteran Issues
Seizure disorders, Parkinson's Disease, Dementia and Hormone Deficience Accepted by Veterans Administration As Being Caused by a Traumatic Brain Injury
In recognition of the link between traumatic brain injury and the following medical conditions: seizures, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, depression and some hormonal deficiencies, the Department of Veterans Affairs have proposed new regulations to compensate veterans with these conditions.
The regulations are scheduled for publication in today’s edition of the Federal Register and list Parkinsonism, unprovoked seizures, certain dementias, depression and hormone deficiency diseases related to the hypothalamus, pituitary or adrenal glands as eligible for the expanded benefits.
The benefits are not limited to veterans injured in Afghanistan or Iraq. Brain injury victims from prior conflicts can also claim these benefits if they can show their traumatic brain injury was service related.
Under the proposed rule, once a veteran can establish he or she was a victim of traumatic brain injury then these five conditions will be deemed connected to the brain injury with no further proof.
But, the proposed regulations do not go far enough. The proposal only links these conditions to a traumatic brain injury if the TBI was originally classified as being “moderate” or “severe”
There are also significant time restrictions requiring the illnesses become manifest following the brain injury within short periods of time. For hormonal deficiencies the time is one year, depression carriers a three year period for moderate or severe brain injury and a one year restriction for mild TBI. Dementia has a 15 year window.
Brain Injury & Epilepsy
New report on epilepsy and seizure disorder
Epilepsy and seizure disorder frequently occurs following head trauma and traumatic brain injury. All forms of brain injury, mild brain injury, moderate brain injury and severe brain injury have been shown to cause seizures. These seizures can occur, minutes, hours, days, weeks or even months following the initial head trauma.
The Institute of Medicine has released a new report: Epilepsy Across the Spectrum: Promoting Health and Understanding.
Although epilepsy is one of the nation’s most common neurological disorders, public understanding of it is limited. It is characterized by unpredictable seizures that differ in type and severity. Living with epilepsy is about much more than just seizures; the disorder is often defined in practical terms, such as challenges in school, uncertainties about social situations and employment, limitations on driving, and questions about independent living.
The IOM was asked to examine the public health dimensions of the epilepsies, focusing on public health surveillance and data collection; population and public health research; health policy, health care, and human services; and education for people with the disorder and their families, health care providers, and the public. The IOM makes recommendations ranging from the expansion of collaborative epilepsy surveillance efforts, to the coordination of public awareness efforts, to the engagement of people with epilepsy and their families in education, dissemination, and advocacy for improved care and services. Taking action across multiple dimensions will improve the lives of people with epilepsy and their families. The realistic, feasible, and action-oriented recommendations in this report can help enable short- and long-term improvements for people with epilepsy.
The report can be downloaded for free on the IOM website
Brain Injury & Epilepsy
New York Epilepsy Conference
The annual one day epilepsy conference sponsored by FACES [Finding a Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures] will be held on Sunday, May 15th from 8:45 AM to 3 PM at NYU Langone Medical Center, Main Floor Auditorium, 55o First Avenue, New York.
The conference will have presentations from epilepsy specialists on information and treatment of epilepsy and seizure disorders including: Epilepsy surgery; pediatric epilepsy, depression following epilepsy, memory difficulties following epilepsy, seizure safety and women's issues in epilepsy.
You can get more information on line by clicking here or by telephoning 646 558 0900
Brain Injury & Epilepsy, Brain Injury Association Information, Brain Injury Events, Brain Injury Legislative News
Brain Injury Awareness Month
In recongition of Brain Injury Awareness Month, the Centers for Disease Control has issued the following statement:
This year, in recognition of Brain Injury Awareness Month, CDC encourages school professionals, coaches, parents, and athletes to learn the steps they can take to reduce the risk for concussion among youths participating in sports. An estimated 1.7 million traumatic brain injury (TBI)--related deaths, hospitalizations, and emergency department visits are expected to occur in the United States each year
1). Moreover, an estimated 135,000 sports- and recreation-related TBIs, including concussions, are treated in U.S. emergency departments each year.
A concussion is a type of TBI caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist inside the skull, stretching and damaging the brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain. Many young athletes accept the risk for injury as one of the many challenges of participating in sports. Others might be unaware that even a mild bump or blow to the head can be serious. Although most athletes with a concussion recover quickly and fully, some will have symptoms that last for days, or even weeks. The effects of a more serious concussion can last for months or longer. A repeat concussion that occurs before the brain recovers from the first (usually within a short period) can be very dangerous and can slow recovery or increase the chances for long-term problems. A repeat concussion can even be fatal.
To date, CDC has disseminated approximately 2 million educational items on concussion in sports through the Heads Up campaign. In addition, CDC has educated approximately 200,000 coaches through online trainings and videos during the past year. CDC's Heads Up to Schools: Know Your Concussion ABCs campaign also is helping strengthen awareness of concussion prevention, recognition, and response among school professionals. CDC's next steps include online training for health-care professionals, developing guidelines for pediatric mild TBIs, and creating online tools for teens and parents. Additional information about preventing, recognizing, and responding to concussions in sports is available by go to the Centers for Disease Control web site on concussions.
Brain Injury & Epilepsy
Epilepsy and seizures may be missed following head trauma
Epilepsy may be missed in patients recovery from brain trauma, particularly those suffering a cerebral hemorrhage according to studies which were reported at the American Epilepsy Society 64th Annual Meeting.
One new study found that at least one quarter of patients in intensive care with a cerebral hemorrhage who underwent evaluation with continuous electroencephalography (cEEG) were diagnosed with subclinical seizures, mostly status epilepticus.
In this study, "The overwhelming majority of patients who had seizure activity were having subclinical or nonconvulsive seizures; in other words, this isn't something you can see with the naked eye," said lead investigator Jeffrey M. Politsky, MD, director, Research, Northeast Regional Epilepsy Group, and medical director Atlantic Neuroscience Institute Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, also in Summit. The authors recommend that these patients be evaluated for subclinical seizure activity to avoid further brain damage.
A second study showed that children with an acute brain injury had more than double the rate of early posttraumatic seizures (EPTS) of adults with similar injuries.
"We know that children have a high rate of early posttraumatic seizures when they have moderate or severe injuries, but this rate of 56% is even higher than what has been shown in past clinical studies," said lead investigator Daniel Arndt, MD, director of the Pediatric Epilepsy Program at DeVos Children's Hospital, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The study results suggest that it might be prudent for all children with head injuries to be monitored with EEG to detect subclinical seizures according to the study authors.
Brain Injury & Epilepsy, Brain Injury Latest Medical News
Post traumatic seizures following traumatic brain injury in children twice as likely as adults
In the first study to utilize continuous EEG monitoring (cEEG) to define the incidence of early post traumatic seizures (EPTS) in children compared to published rates in adults, investigators at the University of Colorado followed pediatric patients with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) admitted to Denver Children’s Hospital over a nine month period. Their report presented at the 64th American Epilepsy Society Annual Meeting suggests that the incidence of early post traumatic seizures in children with moderate to severe TBI is more than twice the rate in adults.
Brain Injury & Epilepsy
Seziure Disorders and Epilepsy-Special Education Campaign
Seizure disorders and epilepsy frequently result following a traumatic brain injury.
The condition takes many different forms and can attack without warning. The condition can affect an individual’s ability to speak, talk, think, or walk. An individual suffering from seizures or epilepsy caused by a brain injury may suffer from bed wetting, or uncontrolled movement of their bowels.
Seizure disorders and epilepsy can result in driving restrictions and limit an individual’s ability to work and even socialize with family and friends.Frequently, anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation accompany epilepsy and seizures.
While there have been great advances in pharmaceutical treatment of epilepsy, approximately one third of people with epilepsy still have seizures. Even those with controlled seizures must take daily medication, attend doctor's visits, submit to blood tests, limit their activities, and otherwise modify their lives.
As part of National Epilepsy Awareness Month, the Epilepsy Foundation has embarked on a special education campaign, "Get Seizure Smart."
Get Seizure Smart intends to improve public education in regard to seizure recognition, seizure types, and seizure first aid. Flyers for doctors' offices and other locations are available free of charge. The Epilepsy Foundation has formed a cooperative agreement with the CDC "to develop and implement programs to enhance epilepsy public awareness and promote partnerships, education, and communication at local and national levels." One such project is the Managing Epilepsy Well (MEW) Network, an alliance of the Epilepsy Foundation and 4 of the CDC's Prevention Research Centers (Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia; University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, Texas; University of Washington, Seattle; and University of Michigan, Ann Arbor). According to the CDC, MEW's mission is "to advance the science related to epilepsy self-management by facilitating and implementing research, conducting research in collaboration with network and community stakeholders, and broadly disseminating the findings of research."
MEW recently sponsored a Webinar on New Community-based Programs and e-tools for Depression Treatment and Epilepsy Self-management. Information presented in this recent Webinar is available in the November issue of Epilepsy and Behavior .
Brain Injury & Epilepsy
New study finds that traumatic epilepsy following head trauma can develop years later
A new study published in this week’s medical journal, Neurology (July 20 issue) finds that traumatic epilepsy can develop years after brain trauma takes place.
"Not only do combat veterans with a penetrating traumatic brain injury have high rates of epilepsy, but the development of epilepsy can occur decades after their lesion," said lead researcher Jordan Grafman, a senior investigator at the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Equally disturbing is the finding that even when epilepsy develops soon after their brain injury, the seizures can become more severe over time.
The report evaluated 199 Vietnam War veterans who had had a penetrating brain injury about 35 years earlier. The veterans were given intelligence tests and brain scans to uncover lesions.
The researchers found that 87 veterans had developed post-traumatic epilepsy. In 11 cases, it took more than 14 years for the epilepsy to show up.
In some cases, the type of seizure changed over time, often becoming more severe or causing loss of consciousness, the team discovered.
Among young adults, post-traumatic epilepsy is the most common cause of new epilepsy, with almost 30,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the United States, the researchers pointed out.
"Post-traumatic epilepsy can be a chronic issue after traumatic brain injury and can affect cognitive and social functions as combat vets age," Grafman said. "Consideration needs to be given to providing combat veterans with TBI [traumatic brain injury] careful and routine evaluations for epilepsy," he added.
Dr. L. James Willmore, co-author of an accompanying journal editorial, said this report and earlier studies point out several risk factors for epilepsy, including brain volume loss from the trauma, metal fragments that remain within the brain, and the presence of a hematoma associated with the initial injury.
Brain Injury & Epilepsy
Trauma and the development of epilepsy
Their is a strong association between head trauma and the development of post traumatic epilepsy. Reports of this association go all the way back to the Roman empire and it is now well established by the medical literature.
Traumatic epilepsy can develop hours, days, weeks, months or even year following brain trauma. It is important to always consider a traumatic event as the cause of early or late developing seizure disorder.
The International Brain Injury Association (IBIA) has posted a good review article on this important topic that's worth reading. You can read it by clicking here.
Brain Injury & Epilepsy, Brain Injury Events
New York City Epilepsy Education Program
Traumatic brain injury and head injury are frequent causes of seizure disorders and epilepsy.
The Epilepsy Advocate Program will be offering a free program in New York to take place on October 6 at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers. A reception is scheduled for 6 PM with the program beginning at 6:30 PM.
The Epilepsy Advocate program is designed to help you learn more about epilepsy and its’ treatment advancements. The program have two people living well with epilepsy sharing their personal stories followed by local neurologists who will be providing an educational presentation on epilepsy. You will also have the opportunity to ask the neurologist or the Advocates any general questions you may have.