Monday, October 26, 2009


Epilepsy is a disease that is close to my heart. I did a fundraiser for Epilepsy research when I was 16, my father has been researching it my whole life (and most of his), my grandfather had it after his stroke, and my mother might have a very mild form of it after living with a cyst in her brain.

More people have epilepsy than Parkinson's, cerebral palsy, and multiple sclerosis COMBINED! That's about 3 million Americans, and one third of those people don't respond to treatment - that is ONE MILLION people living with seizures and brain damage!!! SCARY STUFF!

Epilepsy has been around forever, yet research on it has been slow. This is mainly because up until the last century people with epilepsy were viewed as being "possessed." It's a scary thing to watch someone have a seizure, so a lot of people are unaware of what epilepsy really is. As far as understanding the body, the brain is considered the last frontier. My dad is one smart dude- and all his buddies are pretty smart too. Yet I can see, in dealing with my mother's health issues, that there is still a lot they don't know. The brain is a tricky thing, composed of dendrites, axons, and synapses... how that translates into memories of chocolate cake or a brain disorder like epilepsy people don't really know for sure (although people like my dad have a pretty good idea- GO DAD!).

David Axelrod- Obama's senior advisor and right hand man - described Epilepsy as "terrorism of the brain" in yesterday's 60 Minutes episode. The Axelrods and one of my dad's colleagues from Harvard Med School appeared on the program yesterday to discuss Epilepsy. Check it out HERE.

Please take the time to watch it! (And for an interesting book on Temporal Lobe Epilepsy read Seized by Eve Laplant - read about that book in my earlier blog post about respecting the brain!)

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