The Mysterious Disease Affecting 50 Million People

A disease impacting close to three million Americans and 50 million people worldwide has been perplexing doctors since it was first reported. It affects more people than Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and Lou Gehrig’s Disease but still can’t seem to shake its nasty stigma.

Historically, epilepsy has been viewed as the mark of a witch. It’s been associated with demonic traits and has suffered a negative stigma because of it, even though it’s no more than a neurological disorder. Specialists say because of this stigma, it’s not always addressed as it should be.

It’s truly unbelievable to think that the stigma still exists in 2013. What’s just as unbelievable is that current medical treatments don’t seem to work. Thirty percent of sufferers don’t respond to treatment, making epilepsy a very frustrating, and often dangerous, condition.

Epilepsy is a condition that causes seizures. Sufferers lose consciousness while their bodies convulse, potentially leading to brain damage, serious falls, and a number of other injuries. Warning signs appear in some, while others fall into seizures with no warning at all.

Because medical treatments don’t tend to work, doctors have changed their focus to alternative therapies-and the latest study thinks it might just be a cure.

Research from the University of California, San Francisco produced results indicating brain tissue transplants to epileptics can either halt or drastically reduce seizures. Transplanted brain tissue directly focusing on the cause of seizures showed resoundingly positive results.

Doctors recognized seizures occur because of an abnormal firing of highly active nerve cells in the brain that were all firing at the same time. By transplanting a specific brain tissue called MGI, the overly active seizure-triggering cells are kept under control. The tests were conducted on mice in a lab setting, but appear very promising.

Until this procedure is tested on humans, epileptics can try and limit seizures by adopting a low-glycemic or ketogenic diet. Some studies show seizures are triggered by certain proteins, changing your metabolism in the brain. Eliminating sugar from the diet can help keep things under control. The ketogenic diet is a very rigorous diet that’s very high in fat, moderate in protein, with very little carbohydrates.

The goal of the ketogenic diet is to achieve a state of ketosis, where the body relies on fat stores instead of glycogen stores for energy. When this point is reached, ketones are produced and they can reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures.

Before adopting this kind of diet, it’s wise to talk to your doctor. A ketogenic diet is very strict so you’ll need some help putting it together, while making sure it doesn’t interfere with any other treatment you may be receiving.

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Doctors Health Press [e-bulletin@doctorshealthpress.com]