March 30, 2010

Extracurricular Treatment for Epilepsy?

Now that Bertrand's arm is on the mend, he has been making some great strides. We believe that this is in large part due to his current treatments, chiefly:
  • Ketogenic Diet
  • Keppra
  • Vitamin B6
  • Branched Chain Amino Acids
However, while we've seen a great reduction in the number of seizures, Bertrand is not yet seizure free. While this may still be possible on our current course, it is not likely. Therefore, we're looking ahead for potential cutting-edge treatments. Here are a few:
  • Hormones/Steroids: This group includes intravenous ACTH, Solu-medrol injections, and oral prednisone. As mentioned in prior posts, steroids in epilepsy work primarily by reducing inflammation in the brain. The respite provided by the steroids gives the brain an opportunity to heal. Unfortunately, in many cases, this effect is only temporary, and other measures such as oral steroids, AEDs or the ketogenic diet are needed as a follow-up to maintain seizure control.
  • Intra-Venous Immune Globulin (IVIG): Gamma globulin is a class of antibodies that we all produce. Our body normally uses gamma globulin to bind viruses, bacteria, fungi as well as unusual proteins, toxins, etc. Once these irritants have been bound by the gamma globulin they are cleaned up and eliminated by other cells of the immune system. If there is a virus or an autoimmune antibody that attacks one’s own tissues, the IVIG can neutralize it if there are no other solutions present. IVIG also reduces immune system reactivity and inflammation present in the brain.
  • Stem Cells: Even minute brain injury barely undetectable on an MRI can cause of epilepsy. Stem cells have a way of knowing how to go to areas of insult/injury to repair damage. In Bertrand's case, autologous (his own) cord blood stem cells could by transfused and given a shot at repairing his injured/lost white matter.
  • Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT): In a study done in 2005 at the University of Pittsburgh it was determined that hyperbaric therapy causes the body to make 8 times as many stem cells as normal (this may explain why several brain related traumas respond to it). And, the oxidative stress of hyperbaric oxygen therapy reportedly improves tissue growth and vascularity.

1 comment :

  1. We're looking into HBOT as well, as soon as we get stabilized on the diet. Our pediatrician isn't crazy about the idea because he thinks it is contraindicated for seizures, but I haven't found anything that says that. We haven't talked to our neurologist about it yet. What does yours say?