SEIZURES AND EPILEPSY
A seizure is an abnormal burst of activity within or across specific brian sites or networks, and is broadly categorized into three main causes; genetic, disorders of neuroendocrine development, and response to an insult or injury. A siezure can be a single event due to one of the above causes, but when it recurs unprovoked more than 2 times across a 10year span it is known as epilepsy.
A seizure can involve parts of the brain, or the entire brain, and manifest in numerous ways. The most common and easily recognized type of seizure is called a Tonic-Clonic, formerly called “Grand Mal” seizure. Seizures symptoms may include a change in awareness, partial or full loss of consciousness, emotional changes such as fear, anxiety, or deja vu, and are not always recognizable to either the patient, or a clinician. It is not uncommon for a specific seizure disorder to be misdiagnosed and assigned the wrong treatment, thereby causing even more complications.
Epilepsy is the most prevalent neurological disease globally, affecting around 3.5 million in the USA, increasing the risk of early mortality and other mental health and behavioral disorders. The impact that epilepsy has on the quality of an individual’s life, as well as the lives of their family members, is affected by the severity and nature of the condition. This disorder frequently impacts many areas of life including the right to have a drivers license, opportunity of education and employment, social function and relationships, as well as healthy cognitive and emotional development.
Epilepsy and the brain
A seizure may get diagnosed by an objective assessment of presenting symptoms, the fundamental and conclusive way that seizure activity is analyzed in the brain is by the use of an electroencephalography (EEG), or brain waves. There are different EEG signatures that are more specific to the exact time that a seizure ocurs, but because it is also important to understand the characteristics of an epilepsy prone brain at a time outside of a seizure event, there are fortunately other patterns of activity that are consistent throughout the normal waking state. A common difference in the EEG of epilepsy patients is that their brains produce a higher prevalence of the slow Theta brain waves (4-9Hz), and a lower prevalence of the fast Beta brain waves (12-15Hz), also referred to as sensorimotor rhythm (SMR).
Reinforcing stability and healthy regulation in the brain
Neurofeedback technology involves both the measure and reinforcement of specific brain wave (EEG) patterns. By using a quantitative EEG scan (QEEG) a neurofeedback provider can obtain an objective assessment of each individual’s brain function. Since various epilepsy disorders have different origins and generators in the brain, a QEEG becomes an invaluable resource in retrieving this information. Once this data is collected and reviewed with the client, the appropriate sequence of neurofeedback protocols are assigned.
QEEG brain mapping
The ability of the QEEG to offer an individualized approach to targeting the specifics that underpin someone’s sleep dysfunction, provides a cutting-edge approach that meets the client where they are. The QEEG (quantitative electroencephalogram) brain map uses a 19-channel head cap to measure the electrical activity of the brain, and its corresponding anatomy. This clinical standard of mapping brain function has been established and universally referenced in academic and medical neuroscience. The application of the QEEG provides accurate and clinically relevant information on which areas may have abnormal activity in clients with epilepsy. These areas are then configured into the neurofeedback protocols that a clinician will use in the course of the client’s neurofeedback training.
Neurofeedback and Epilepsy (Maggie's Story)