Clinical Neuroscience

[Psychosocial conditions of adult epileptic patients in Hungary]

RAJNA Péter, SÓLYOM András, VERES Judit

JUNE 10, 2004

Clinical Neuroscience - 2004;57(05-06)

[Authors analyze the possible connections among psychosocial, more important epileptological and social conditions in the population of the Hungarian Epilepsy Database. The inclusion criteria were the presence of repeated epileptic seizures, the strict diagnosis of epilepsy and at least three registered control visits. Four hundred and fifty 30 or more years old patients fulfilled the criteria. Based on the answers to four questions in the database considering some conditions potentially modifying the way of life the patients were scored and distributed into 3 subgroups (good, average and bad) concerning their psychosocial conditions. In contrast to previous expectations they found that the type of epilepsy does not influence the attainable psychosocial conditions. Presence of generalized tonic-clonic or complex partial seizure did not exhibit influence either. Analysis of the seizure frequency showed that generalized convulsions, if occurred rarely were accompanied by good psychosocial level and if occurred frequently they were accompanied by a less acceptable level. Psychopathological symptoms independently from their nature and evidenced brain lesion as etiology also made the psychosocial conditions worse. No difference was found concerning the gender of the population. It contradicts the hypothesis that epilepsy has a greater impact on females. Psychosocial conditions are better in patients with higher education and living in pairs. Based on the study authors support the statements of the literature emphasizing that for achieving the best quality of life and psychosocial level an appropriate medical care is not enough. They need also the relative highest level of education and a stable partnership.]



Further articles in this publication

Clinical Neuroscience

[Surgical treatment of epilepsy]


[In this article the possibilities, indications, methods and results of surgery in epilepsy are summarized in general with the Hungarian experience emphasized. Surgery may provide effective treatment in about 5-10% of the epileptic population. Surgical solution nowadays became an essential treatment in medial temporal epilepsy, if hippocampal sclerosis or other lesion is present, in therapy resistent lesional extratemporal epilepsies and in catastrophic childhood epilepsies if the epileptic disorder is restricted to one hemisphere (Rasmussen syndrome, hemimegalencephaly, Sturge-Weber disease and posttraumatic or postencephalitic hemispherial epilepsies). The algorhythms of the presurgical evaluation and the current methods for study the pacemaker area, forbidden zones, and hemispherial functions are treated. The currently used type and techniques of surgery, such as lesionectomy, temporal lobe resections, hemispherotomy, callosotomy, multiple subpial transsections and their indications are described. The newest surgical approaches, as deep brain stimulation, vagal nerve stimulation, and irradiation techniques are also briefly touched. Lastly, we deal with prognostical factors of the surgical outcome, reasons of surgical failures and complications. In a brief chapter the importance of postsurgical rehabilitation is emphasized.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Diagnosis of epilepsy]


[0.5-1% of the population suffers from epilepsy, while another 5% undergoes diagnostic evaluations due to the possibility of epilepsy. In the case of suspected epileptic seizures we face the following questions: Is it an epileptic seizure? The main and most frequent differential- diagnostic problems are the psychogenic non-epileptic seizures ("pseudo-seizures") and the convulsive syncope, which is often caused by heart disorders. Is it epilepsy? After an unprovoked seizure, the information on recurrence risk is an important question. The reoccurrence is more possible if a known etiological factor is present or the EEG shows epileptiform discharges. After an isolated epileptic seizure, the EEG is specific to epilepsy in 30-50% of cases. The EEG should take place within 24 hours postictally. If the EEG shows no epileptiform potentials, a sleep-EEG is required. What is the cause of seizures? Hippocampal sclerosis, benign tumors, and malformations of the cortical development are the most frequent causes of the focal epilepsy. Three potentially life-threatening conditions may cause chronic epilepsy: vascular malformations, tumors, and neuroinfections. The diagnosis in theses cases can usually be achieved by MRI, therefore, MRI is obligatory in all epilepsies starting in adulthood. The presence of epileptogenic lesion has a prognostic significance in treatment. If the MRI shows a circumscribed lesion then the pharmacological treatment will likely to be unsuccessful, while surgery may result in seizure freedom. The new and quantitative MRI techniques, such as volumetry, T2-relaxometry, MR-spectroscopy, and functional MRI play a growing role in the epilepsy diagnosis.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Genetic background of epilepsies]


[In this article we review epilepsies with monogenic inheritance. Most of these diseases are caused by abnormal function of ligand- and voltage gated ion channels caused by a genetic defect, therefore belonging to the channelopathies. From the inherited epilepsies the genetics of the autosomal dominant partial epilepsies is clarified the best. Mutations of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunits are found in familial nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy, while defects in the voltage gated potassium channels (KCNQ2 and KCNQ3) have been identified in benign familial neonatal convulsions. Familial temporolateral epilepsy was associated with mutations of a tumor suppressor gene. From the generalized epilepsies, the syndrome of generalized epilepsy with febrile seizures plus (GEFS+) can be caused by mutations of the sodium channel subunits and of the GABAA receptor subunits. These important results would probably lead to new findings in the genetics of the more common forms of idiopathic generalized epilepsies, which have presumed polygenic origin. Although without definite conclusions, sodium channel and GABA receptor dysfunction is presumed. The accumulated knowledge about channelopathies enables insight to the cellular mechanism of epileptogenesis as well.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Questions of epileptogenesis and prevention in symptomatic epilepsies]

NIKL János

[Symptomatic epilepsies usually report themselves after a longer period of time after brain injury, after the so-called latent period. During this period progressive functional and structural changes occur which finally cause an increased excitatory condition. The process of epileptogenesis may be examined in animal models, such as in the kindling, status epilepticus, hypoxicischaemic models. Data gained from such sources support the hypothesis that the first injury results in a lower seizure threshold, but genetical and enviromental factors also contribute to the development of epilepsy and most probably further insults may be needed. The development of epilepsy can be traced back to several reasons. In spite of this, the latent period provides opportunity for the prevention of epilepsy or for the influence of epileptogenesis in such a manner that later treatment can become more succesful. Prevention should be an aim in clinical practice, as well. Medication used presently are more like to have anticonvulsive properties and their antiepileptogenic effect is questionable. Due to this fact, development of new drugs is necessary with new theoretical background. The most important influence on the incidence of epilepsy in recent years has been provided by the improvement in neonatal care. This highlights the fact that such optimal medical care should be provided in the acute period of brain injury which can terminate or lessen the risk of epilepsy.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Antiepileptic drug treatment]


[Antiepileptic drug treatment is essential and provides excellent therapeutic effects in more than the two-third of the epileptic patients. The antiepileptic drugs influence the chronic hyperexcitability of the brain developed during the epileptogenesis. As an effect, it decreases the excitability and/or increases the inhibition of the pathological cells, which prevents the precipitation of the epileptic seizure (anticonvulsive effect). The anticonvulsive effect comes into operation by the influence of the transport of one ore more ion-channels. The anticonvulsive effect is only symptomatic and it doesn’t cure the disorder. The drug selection is based on the knowledge of the therapeutic markers and the effectiveness of the drug to be used. This can occure on the basis of the action of the drug or in syndromespecific way. The pharmacokinetic properties of the drugs determine how they can be used in the practice. The drug interactions can take place in several levels. Among them, the change of the metabolism is the most important. Acute dosedependent side effects, organ-specific chronic interactions and idiosyncratic reactions must be taken into consideration during the use of antiepileptic drugs. The patient's individual aspects must be considerably taken into account during the treatment. There are other medical areas that can benefit from the antiepileptic drugs. Among them, the most important diseases are: restless legs syndrome, neuropathic pain, trigeminal neuralgia, essential tremor, bulimia and bipolar disorders. There are other pharmacological (adrenocorticotropic hormone, immunoglobulins, neurosteroids) and dietary methods, which may be effective at certain epileptic syndromes. The principles of the pharmacotherapy have been changing continuously during the past decades and since. New drugs have been introduced into the marketing and new expectations are coming into the limelight concerning the treatment. As a consequence this will bring on the modification of antiepileptic drug therapeutic habits.]

All articles in the issue

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Clinical Neuroscience

Effects of valproate, carbamazepine and levetiracetam on Tp-e interval, Tp-e/QT and Tp-e/QTc ratio


Aim - To evaluate P-wave dispersion before and after antiepileptic drug (AED) treatment as well as to investigate the risk of ventricular repolarization using the Tpeak-Tend (Tp-e) interval and Tp-e/QT ratio in patients with epileptic disorder. Methods - A total of 63 patients receiving AED therapy and 35 healthy adults were included. ECG recordings were obtained before and 3 months after anti-epileptic treatment among patients with epilepsy. For both groups, Tp-e and Tp-e/QT ratio were measured using a 12-lead ECG device. Results - Tp-e interval, Tpe/QT and Tp-e/QTc ratios were found to be higher in the patient group than in the control group (p<0.05, for all), while QTmax ratio was significantly lower in the patient group. After 3 months of AED therapy, significant increases in QT max, QTc max, QTcd, Tp-e, Tp-e/QT, and Tp-e/QTc were found among the patients (p<0.05). When the arrhythmic effects of the drugs before and after treatment were compared, especially in the valproic acid group, there were significant increases in Tp-e interval, Tp-e/QT and Tp-e/QTc values after three months of treatment (p<0.05). Carbamazepine and levetiracetam groups were not statistically significant in terms of pre- and post-treatment values. Conclusions - It was concluded that an arrhythmogenic environment may be associated with the disease, and patients who received AED monotherapy may need to be followed up more closely for arrhythmia.

Clinical Neuroscience

[Zonisamide: one of the first-line antiepileptic drugs in focal epilepsy ]


[Chronic administration of antiepileptic drugs without history of unprovoked epileptic seizures are not recommended for epilepsy prophylaxis. Conversely, if the patient suffered the first unprovoked seizure, then the presence of epileptiform discharges on the EEG, focal neurological signs, and the presence of epileptogenic lesion on the MRI are risk factors for a second seizure (such as for the development of epilepsy). Without these risk factors, the chance of a second seizure is about 25-30%, while the presence of these risk factors (for example signs of previous stroke, neurotrauma, or encephalitis on the MRI) can predict >70% seizure recurrence. Thus the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) re-defined the term ’epilepsy’ which can be diagnosed even after the first seizure, if the risk of seizure recurrence is high. According to this definition, we can start antiepileptic drug therapy after a single unprovoked seizure. There are four antiepileptic drugs which has the highest evidence (level „A”) as first-line initial monotherapy for treating newly diagnosed epilepsy. These are: carbamazepine, phenytoin, levetiracetam, and zonisamide (ZNS). The present review focuses on the ZNS. Beacuse ZNS can be administrated once a day, it is an optimal drug for maintaining patient’s compliance and for those patients who have a high risk for developing a non-compliance (for example teenagers and young adults). Due to the low interaction potential, ZNS treatment is safe and effective in treating epilepsy of elderly people. ZNS is an ideal drug in epilepsy accompanied by obesity, because ZNS has a weight loss effect, especially in obese patients.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Decisional collisions between evidence and experience based medicine in care of people with epilepsy]


[Background – Based on the literature and his long-term clinical practice the author stresses the main collisions of evidence and experience based medicine in the care of people with epilepsy. Purpose – To see, what are the professional decisions of high responsibility in the epilepsy-care, in whose the relevant clinical research is still lacking or does not give a satisfactory basis. Methods – Following the structure of the Hungarian Guideline the author points the critical situations and decisions. He explains also the causes of the dilemmas: the lack or uncertainty of evidences or the difficulty of scientific investigation of the situation. Results – There are some priorities of experience based medicine in the following areas: definition of epilepsy, classification of seizures, etiology – including genetic background –, role of precipitating and provoking factors. These are able to influence the complex diagnosis. In the pharmacotherapy the choice of the first drug and the optimal algorithm as well as the tasks during the care are also depends on personal experiences sometimes contradictory to the official recommendations. Same can occur in the choice of the non-pharmacological treatments and rehabilitation. Discussion and conclusion – Personal professional experiences (and interests of patients) must be obligatory accessories of evidence based attitude, but for achieving the optimal results, in some situations they replace the official recommendations. Therefore it is very important that the problematic patients do meet experts having necessary experiences and also professional responsibility to help in these decisions. ]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Examining the psychometric properties of a new quality of life questionnaire in migraineurs]


[Background - The deleterious effect of primary headaches on the sufferers’ quality of life (QOL) has been abundantly documented using both generic and headache-specific instruments. The currently used questionnaires focus on a limited number of factors and therefore may not be sensitive enough to detect the effect of headache type and headache characteristics on QOL, despite the obvious clinical differences. We have devised a comprehensive questionnaire that may be more sensitive to the burden of headache. Objective - To assess the psychometric properties of the new questionnaire on a group of migraineurs. Patients and method - We studied 117 migraineurs who completed the validated Hungarian version of the SF-36 generic QOL measure and our new, 25-item questionnaire. Reliability was assessed by internal consistency, measured by Cronbach’s a of all items. Content validity was exam- ined by calculating the correlation of the items with subscales of the SF-36 measure. The correlation of the patients’ migraine characteristics with the questionnaire’s items was used to assess criterion validity. Results - The questionnaire was quick and easy to administer. The questionnaire demonstrated good reliability, with Cronbach’s alpha being 0.893. Content validity was adequate; most “physical” items of the new questionnaire showed significant correlations with the bodily pain and role physical SF-36 subscales and most “psychical” and “social” items were correlated with mental health and social functioning SF-36 subscales. Criterion validity was adequate, with headache severity being correlated with most of the items. Discussion - In this study the new headache-specific quality of life instrument showed adequate psychometric properties.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Earlier and more efficiently: the role of deep brain stimulation for parkinson’s disease preserving the working capabilities]

DELI Gabriella, BALÁS István, KOMOLY Sámuel, DÓCZI Tamás, JANSZKY József, ASCHERMANN Zsuzsanna, NAGY Ferenc, BOSNYÁK Edit, KOVÁCS Norbert

[Background – The recently published “EarlyStim” study demonstrated that deep brain stimulation (DBS) for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD) with early fluctuations is superior to the optimal pharmacological treatment in improving the quality of life and motor symptoms, and preserving sociocultural position. Our retrospective investigation aimed to evaluate if DBS therapy was able to preserve the working capabilities of our patients. Methods – We reviewed the data of 39 young (<60 years-old) PD patients who underwent subthalamic DBS implantation at University of Pécs and had at least two years follow-up. Patients were categorized into two groups based on their working capabilities: Patients with active job (“Job+” group, n=15) and retired patients (without active job, “Job-” group, n=24). Severity of motor symptoms (UPDRS part 3), quality of life (EQ-5D) and presence of active job were evaluated one and two years after the operation. Results – As far as the severity of motor symptoms were concerned, similar (approximately 50%) improvement was achieved in both groups. However, the postoperative quality of life was significantly better in the Job+ group. Majority (12/15, 80%) of Job+ group members were able to preserve their job two years after the operation. However, only a minimal portion (1/24, 4.2%) of the Job- group members was able to return to the world of active employees (p<0.01, McNemar test). Conclusion – Although our retrospective study has several limitations, our results fit well with the conclusions of “EarlyStim” study. Both of them suggest that with optimal timing of DBS implantation we may preserve the working capabilities of our patients.]