Medications and more medications. Maybe an electrical device implanted in your neck. In the end, surgery. This pretty much describes the medical treatment of epilepsy and migraines.
And, as a whole, this treatment paradigm sucks. It does nothing to protect the brain, which should be the number one goal. I should consider clarifying this by noting that it should be the number one goal after the seizures are under control, but only 30% or so of epileptic patients are able to achieve control of his or her seizures quickly with the first medication used.
I was at a marketing event this week and ended up having a conversation about a teenage girl who had epilepsy. Natural remedies for seizures came up in conversation.
The seizures had begun about a year ago right around the time that her menstrual cycles started, and her seizures were tied to her menstrual cycles (the term for this type of seizure is “catamenial”). The answer from the “specialists” was to put her on anti-seizure meds as well as the birth control pill. Sounds great on the surface, but when you look a little deeper, you’ll see that this is not the best approach.
Disorders of the mind have never been as easy to grasp for doctors. While therapists have a larger toolbox, most physicians are limited to medications.
For me, medications that screw with the essential way that your brain cells function in relationship to one another are a wee bit on the scary side. We really know so little about the brain so it seems that using medications to alter it would be akin to cavemen using rocks to fix an iPad.
I don’t need to go into how epilepsy is a condition not limited to the brain, because I have covered this many times in the past.
This is also just one of the areas where migraines and seizures have similarities—migraines are also a brain condition that is not limited to the brain. Both are an indication that something is very, very wrong.
BRAIN DAMAGE OCCURS DESPITE SUCCESSFUL DRUG TREATMENT IN EPILEPSY AND MIGRAINES. One of my continuing frustrations in our treatment of seizures (this includes true migraines) is that we view the treatement as successful if the seizures or migraines have stopped.
Given that the topic of seizures is near and dear to me, this one caught my eye. It is well known that after a seizure (the post ictal period) these same symptoms described in this study are seen. And we know that the post ictal period after a seizure is caused by massive levels of oxidative damage.
So, this furthers the idea of an oxidative stress model of migraines.
3 million in the US have a history of epilepsy. Few link migraines and epilepsy, but the connections are clear. Because of this, what helps migraines may help with seizures.
I can honestly say that few doctors link these two conditions together, but it is clear that migraines share very similar characteristics to seizures. A few very astute researchers have coined the term “migralepsy,” but this is usually to describe a condition where a migraine headache is followed by seizure within a specified period of time.
The finding of a genetic link between migraines and epilepsy have been all over the news since this article hit the mainstream media earlier this month. I have had a standing Google alert for “migraines and epilepsy” for quite some time now. Nothing was on the radar screen on the Internet until this study hit.