Friday, June 30, 2006

VNS Implant Picture

I try to post this pic quite a bit as it is a handy refrence when I want to show someone where the wires attach and where the pulse generator is located. Although you can barely detect them under the skin, it is not always easy for people to grasp the concept until they can see the diagram.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Blood of a Turtle Dove v. Epilepsy

Sacred Texts

This site lists the oddest remedys I have seen to cure epilepsy. Here are just a sampling of the cures:

Take a turtle dove, cut its throat, and let the person afflicted with epilepsy, drink the blood.

To Cure Epilepsy: Take nine pieces of young elder twig; run a thread of silk of three strands through the pieces, each piece being an inch long. Tie this round the patient's neck next the skin. Should the thread break and the amulet fall, it must be buried deep in the earth and another amulet made like the first, for if once it touches the ground the charm is lost.

To Cure Epilepsy: Take nine pieces of a dead man's skull, grind them to powder, and then mix with a decoction of wall rue. Give the patient a spoonful of this mixture every morning fasting, till the whole potion is swallowed. None must be left, or the dead man would come to look for the pieces of his skull.

To cure epilepsy, a black cock must be buried alive with a lock of the patient's hair and some parings of his nails.

Odd stuff indeed.

You can get all 109 refrences to Epilepsy from the site by clicking on this Link.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

As for me / Slack Blogger / Off Topic

As for me...
I'm doing well. Not so many seizures. About the same as the previous few weeks: 0-2 a day. Last week was a little higher than this week so far. Probably due to the trip I took. Trips add stress - which is never good for seizures.

Slack Blogger...
Yes I know. No posts in 6 days. Pretty shamefull. I'll try to post a few things this week.

Off Topic...
The United States Senate spent a whole week debating whether to amend the Constitution to prevent flag burning (this is a huge problem here in the U.S. - there have been 34 flag burnings in the last 16 years)... it did not pass, but what a waste of time and tax dollars. It would have been much better to spend a week debating universal health care. There are 40 million people with no health care in this country. That works out to at least 400,000 people with epilepsy. I plan to write my Senators (Burr & Dole) and request that they quit wasting my tax dollars on political drivel and get back to working on real problems that the people of this nation face.

BTW: It is easy to contact your Senators - Click Here to find your Senator and the page from which to email them.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

National Society for Epilepsy e-Poll

The National Society for Epilepsy, a UK group, is conducting an online poll for people under the age of 25.

I think they are interested in just getting United Kindom results, but as a lot of citizens from the UK stop by here, I thought I would post it.

Their website also has a lot of general information on epilepsy that one might find useful.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Seizure Medicines :

This is a great page on the types of epilepsy meds, drug interactions, FAQs, side effects ...
If you have any questions about AEDs, this is a good place to start your search.
Seizure Medicines :

Monday, June 19, 2006

As for me..

Things are going well so far this week. As always, heading back to work does seem to increase the # of seizures I experince during the day. Christa thinks that it may be that I spend too much time in front of the computer... but what am I to do? I am a computer tech... Could just be the extra stress though.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day!

Today is Father's Day here in The States. I would like to wish any fathers that happen to stop by a very happy one.

I have been fortunate to have a great dad that has taken great care of me over the years and has always striven to get me the best medical care for my epilepsy he could.

Thanks Dad.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Does the VNS work?

The most frequent question I get is whether the Cyberoinics VNS works. See for yourself. I have graphed my seizure activity for the last two months - blue line shows # of seizures per day - green line shows average daily seizures for past seven days. Click on the picture for greater resolution & graph key.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Roller-Coaster v. VNS

Yesterday I road my first rollercoaster since getting my VNS implanted. At Carowinds (a theme park) they have a coaster called Top Gun. It is one of my favorite as the ride has all the "bells & whistles", but is very smooth. You don't get jerked around a lot. So I thought this one would be good to try first.

The harness fit tight over the shoulders, and did not press against the VNS. During the ride, I did not notice any contact with the harness against the device, however, I was moving 60 mph and enduring inverted loops that pressed my body against the seat at 5 times the Earth's gravity. Evidently it did knock the VNS around abit as today the area around the device is a little sore.

My advice: Wait a several months after having surgery before riding a modern steel coaster that uses a chest harness. Examine the harness before riding to make sure it will not press against the VNS. Finally, ask someone to find out how "jerky" the ride is as you don't want the harness to slam or pull on the device.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Cyberonics Questioned On Stock Options

Questions Raised on Another Chief's Stock Options - New York Times

My wife heard a brief mention about some questionable stock options given to executives of Cyberonics this morning on CNN. I did not get to hear it, so I searched this morning for the news on CNN.COM. Never found it. I did further research and found it at the New York Times.

After reading the article, it turns out that the whole report by this guy Amit Hazan, is completely misleading. He cites "instant paper profits of 2.3 million" for the CEO. This is insane and simply untrue. The executives have not even exercised their options that they received in 2004. Exercised at current price, the options are worth worth 600k for the CEO and the other executives options are worth 40k.

It was simply poor judgement for any of the news outlets to even report on this document by Hazan before checking facts. The stock ended up dropping by 16 percent, then regaining nearly all it's value back. But some people lost a lot of money due to an over-zealous analyst and sloppy reporting.

A Little Extra Sparkle

A new blog, A Little Extra Sparkle, posted this quote refrenceing epilepsy from the book of Matthew:

Matthew 4:23-24
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pain, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Who Invented the EEG?

Working in Germany during the 1920s, Hans Berger, a psychiatrist, developed the human electroencephalograph (EEG - brainwaves'). Its important application from the 1930s onwards was in the field of epilepsy. The EEG revealed the presence of electrical discharges in the brain. It also showed different patterns of brainwave discharges associated with different seizure types. The EEG also helped to locate the site of seizure discharges and expanded the possibilities of neurosurgical treatments, which became much more widely available from the 1950s onwards in London, Montreal and Paris.

Source: World Health Orginization (WHO) Factsheets

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Monday, June 05, 2006

New VNS Settings: 250 Pulse Width

Friday I requested that they increase my VNS settings for Pulse Width from 130 to 250.

My settings are now at:
Frequency: 20 Hz
Pulse Width: 250
Off Time: 1.8 min
On Time: 30 seconds
Current: .75 mAmp

The increase causes my voice to break up quite a bit, but it is slowly getting better. I used lozenges over the weekend to help with the throat irritation.

Good news: No seizures over the weekend.
However: I have already had 2 today…

Friday, June 02, 2006

Epilepsy Activism

Christa and I met with Dr. Dean today and discussed a number of different projects we would like to start in order to help people with epilepsy. About a year or so ago, Dean moved the Epilepsy Institute of NC to a new facility. In addition to Physician's offices, she also got enough room for a auditorim and several other rooms that can be used for outreach and educational purposes. We are quite excited and are looking forward to working with her to start some support programs for the region's eplepsy community.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Seizures v. Hard Work

Last 5 days have been very good to me. No seizures... even at work.

My Neurologist's analysis of my EEG indicates that when I get sleepy, my mind has a harder time "fighting off" the extra electrical activity in my brain. Hence when I am sleepy, I have a better chance of having a seizure.

My thoughts on this: Last few weekends I have been doing some hard physical labor landscaping the yard and painting on my parent's house.
Hard physical labor = good sleep.
Good sleep = not tired during the day.
Not tired = no seizures.