February 7, 2010

Guest Review: "Seized"

Bertrand's grandma Diane reviewed the book Seized by Eve La Plante. Please enjoy!

What might Van Gough, Dostoevsky, Flaubert, Lewis Carroll, Poe, St. Paul, Muhammad, Moses and many more have in common? Analysis of historical data by author Eve La Plante in “Seized” reveals all potentially suffered from a type of epilepsy called Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (TLE). La Plante takes the reader into the world of TLE partial seizures and their effect on the lives of both the extraordinary and the ordinary. This book is recommended as a good first read before further research into epilepsy.

TLE affects over 1 million Americans. The reader becomes sensitized to those with this disorder and how lack of knowledge creates inappropriate prejudice and discrimination against epileptics. Tragically the word epileptic often carries such stigma that many doctors initially refer to their patient’s condition as “seizures” only.

In between seizures key TLE symptoms may include hypergraphia (arts/writing), hyperreligiosity, stickiness (dependency on certain people), aggression, and/or altered sexuality. It is believed that TLE causes ordinary traits to be intensively muted or enhanced due to an “underlying brain scar which causes hyperconnectivity”. An over abundance of rapid connections in the emotional part of the brain cause hypersensitivity to environment much like a spigot that can’t be turned off.

The medical history of epilepsy is summarized with focus on important contributors to the field. Past barbaric treatments as well as current and future treatments are discussed. Although brain anatomy and function are reviewed, the reader is left with a desire to learn more as well as research the reasons for abnormal neuronal firing and the various types of epilepsy.

Since there is an organic basis for many mental conditions, the inevitable merging of psychiatry and neurology is addressed. Intriguing age old questions are posed such as “What is a thought?” and “Are mind and body dual in nature?” In addition, the concept in our society that everyone has the free will to control his/her actions is thrown into question. In closing, as a fun exercise before reading, draw the face of a clock at 10 after 11 and see how your clock compares to that of someone with TLE.

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