Scientists have discovered that patients who receive a traumatic head injury are likely to develop seizures within weeks, months or even years. Now a new rat-based study has suggested that by cooling the brain after the injury, doctors may be able to prevent seizures.
After a severe head injury, patients often experience epileptic seizures that are difficult to control. A new study in rats suggests that gently cooling the brain after injury may prevent these seizures. The results of this study were reported in Annals of Neurology.
“Traumatic head injury is the leading cause of acquired epilepsy in young adults, and in many cases the seizures can’t be controlled with medication,” says senior author Matthew Smyth, MD, associate professor of neurological surgery and of pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “If we can confirm cooling’s effectiveness in human trials, this approach may give us a safe and relatively simple way to prevent epilepsy in these patients.”
Cooling the brain is said to slow down the metabolic activity of nerve cells, which is why scientists think it may assist the brain in recovering from an injury. Smyth was looking to see how the cooling worked in preventing seizures or at least lessening their intensity when he conducted this study.
“Warmer brain cells seem to be more electrically active, and that may increase the likelihood of abnormal electrical discharges that can coalesce to form a seizure,” Smyth says. “Cooling should have the opposite effect.”
Epilepsy is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. The condition is often treated with prescription drugs like Topamax, which is used specifically to prevent seizures. However the pills have been linked to serious side effects which include PPHN, oral clefts, spina bifida and neural tube defects. The risks in taking Topamax is increased when doctors have to guess which dosage to use on patients in order to find the right one.
If your baby has suffered from birth defects after being exposed to Topamax in-utero, contact attorney Greg Jones today for a free consultation. I am experienced at fighting Topamax lawsuits and may be able to help you recover money for your child’s injury.