SEIZURE: DO YOU KNOW THAT TOO MUCH LAUGHTER IS A DISEASE?

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Yes, it is and it is called Gelastic seizure. It is a rare type of epilepsy which is also known as Gelastic Epilepsy. Gelastic seizure is defined as sudden occurrence of emotions in the form of a laugh or a cry. The name gelastic epilepsy comes from Greek word ‘gelos’ which means laughter. Time of seizure is generally 5 to 60 seconds. Percentage of occurrence is slightly higher in male than female. Previously, it is considered that gelastic seizures are originated in the temporal lobes but further study described that it is associated with hypothalamic hamartomas. It is affected to any age group but mostly before three or four years of age. In most of the cases gelastic seizures is followed by tonic-clonic seizures and atonic seizures

 

Causes of Gelastic seizure

  1. Hypothalamic hamartoma (small Brain tumor in the region of hypothalamus) is common cause of gelastic seizures.
  2. Focal cortical dysplasias also give rise to gelastic seizure and difficultly noted in EEG.
  3. Person having family history of migraines may have chances for gelastic seizures.
  4. Temporal or frontal lobe lesions.

Signs and Symptoms of Gelastic seizure

  • Sudden occurrence of laughing or crying without any obvious cause.
  • Twitching, eye or head movements, automatisms such as lip smacking, speechless, chewing or grinding the teeth.
  • If seizure is associated with hypothalamic hamartomas then seizure start during infancy and occurrence is very frequent
  • Child may become confuse during or after seizure.
  • Learning inability and behavioral problems
  • Development of secondary sex characteristics before the age of eight is shown by girls having gelastic seizures.

Diagnosis for Gelastic seizure

In most of the cases gelastic seizures is diagnosed very lately because symptoms are like normal events.

  1. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are very widely used to look for the tumors in diagnosis of gelastic seizures.
  2. Photon emission computed tomography may also be used
  3. Video of the child’s seizure also helpful in diagnosis.
  4. Electroencephalogram (EEG) shows sharp waves, spikes or spike and slow waves or interictal epileptic discharges.
    Person having gelastic seizures shows during EEG.

What is treatment for Gelastic seizure?

  • Anti-epileptic drugs such as topamax, carbamazepine, levetiracetam, clobazam, lamictal and oxcarbazepine are used.
  • Combination of dextroamphetamine, primidone and phenobarbital is preferred.
  • Surgical treatment or radiotherapy is used if cause of seizure is tumor. In this tumor is removed which gives improvement in learning abilities.

Treatment with hormones is given to child who is having fast puberty

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