Tuesday, August 21, 2007


The Human Brain and Seizures
The human brain is the most complex organ in the body. It is made up almost entirely of nerve cells.
At any given moment there are millions of electrical impulses running through the brain. The brain is constantly receiving and responding to hundreds of messages from the environment and the internal organs of our body.
A seizure is a disruption in the normal pattern of these electrical impulses in the brain, caused by the brain cells firing simultaneously at a much faster rate.
Depending on where a seizure starts and spreads in the brain, they can result in changes in:
Awareness or consciousness,
or Movement
Some seizures are severe and recognised as a seizure, whilst others are subtle and may not be noticed by most people.

All these things I know. Some people have seizures that are just a simple stare..you know, like a vacant gaze at nothing in particular in front of them. No recall of the event, others can remember everything their nurse is saying to them during the event.

Such a complex problem....aren't humans just so...so...THAT! Complex.
So, what has the wonder dog got to do with it I hear you asking? It has been found that Dogs can predict when a child will have an epileptic seizure up to several hours in advance, according to new Canadian research.While not all dogs can do this, those that do tend to lick the child's face, slow down, act protectively or whimper. One dog even pushed a young girl away from the stairs 15 minutes before an attack, the researchers reported in the latest issue of the journal Neurology. Wonder dog, you betcha.


Keshi said...

ty for the very valuable info here Caz!

I think my sis had it once or twice...for some strange reason. I rem I sat down n cried...screamed...cos I thought she died.

Humans r indeed so complex! Its scary.

**Some people have seizures that are just a simple stare..you know, like a vacant gaze at nothing in particular in front of them

how d u mean? I wanna know more abt that...


Cazzie!!! said...

Keshi, it is like when you say something to someone and they look at you with a "what the?" stare...but there is no blinking, no talking, no moving..and then they go on with the conversation they were having previous to the episode.

M said...

wow, that's very cool. I can understand why though, they pick up things that aren't always apparent - electricity in the air, mood change etc.

I've taught a couple of people with absence seizures/epilepsy. It's amazing the frequency this can occur for some people - one girl was lucky if she even heard 1/3 of what I ever said.

Eternally Curious said...

So very true! Many animals, not just dogs, are amazing in this capacity! Especially, it would seem, the more "connected" to humans (or a particular human) they are. I truly love horses, and I know for a fact that a truly connected horse can be very finely tuned to its owner's emotional and mental state. Thank you Cazzie, for an awesome post!

Beefcake Almighty said...

Our brains are our own worst enemy.

Queenie said...

Mmmmm, very interesting.

Alicia said...

Read a book called MY SISTER'S KEEPER.

I think you'll enjoy it.

Crabby said...

Wow. This is amazing. But I'm a dog lover anyway and I have seen mine do some things I sure couldn't explain.

Course I've also had my share of the dumber than dirt variety of canine. Like the one who peed on my leg while I was defending him to Bob after he'd taken a wizz on Bob's speakers.

Betty said...

I have a friend who suddenly started having what appeared to be petit mal seizures at age 70. She had a benign tumor, though, and when it was removed, she was fine.

Aidan said...

i had heard of seizure dogs before. That can make an individual aware of an impending seizure.... Giving them a chance to prepare or warn others, or remove any items that may be hazardous.

Absence seizures would be very hard to identify, we all have moments where we tune out, i wonder how many are un diagnosed.

Andrew said...

I was a young teenager when I saw a guy have an extreme epileptic fit. I was on my own and I had no idea what was happening. I left him on his own and went into a shop and called an ambulance.

Mom said...

Our son had grand mal seizures as a kid. Very scary things. I wish we had had a dog that could have predicted those things. He outgrew the seizures and hasn't had one since he became an adult.

Cazzie!!! said...

M, yes, I can see why too. I wonder if horses would be any good at this..I mean, they'd have to be minuature in size and all, but I know my horse was very perceptive to things around her and to my feelings too.
I guess you'd see alot of things as a teacher.

EC, OMG, read the comment I made above...it is true then you think? I am a horse lover too!

Beefcake, you saying your brain is bad? LOL...Cazzie runs away and hides...

Queenie, I thought so too, I just had to write about it.

Alicia, I will goto the library to borrow it, thanks.

Crabby, haha, a dog that is dumber than dog shit hey..yep, I have seen a few in my short time here on Earth aswell, LOL.

Betty, thank goodness it was benign. It is very scary isn't it?

Aidan, I was so wrapped to discover this. I know dogs do help people with all sorts of challenges but I never knew this with the epilepsy.
I agree with the abscense seizures too, so many undiagnosed. I guess we would be seen as "not paying attention" in class as kids.

Andrew, I haven't witnessed one in publi before, but I witness many many at work, especially on the epilepsy centre section. You certainly did do the right thing.

Mom, thank goodness he outgrew them Mom.

gawilli said...

My friends mom is having seizures and they have put her on some medication which seems to be helping. The doctor says her brain can heal itself from the type she is having which might possible result in no more meds. Wouldn't that be wonderful? Apparently she had been having them for some time, but did not realize it. A dog like this sure would have helped.

Spark Driver said...

I think that dogs have greater powerrs of telepathy than we give them credit for.

justacoolcat said...

Dogs are awesome.

Keshi said...

o I get it now...I hv come across such ppl! WOW.


G-Man said...

They even have dogs that can smell cancer too..
Maybe I shoukd become a
"Dog Whisperer"?
Take Care Sweetie...Galen xo

Jay said...

Dogs are just amazing. Animals can predict lots of things. You can predict the weather by watching animals. Especially farm animals. They seem to know when it's going to rain and stuff like that.

captain corky said...

Dogs are so amazing sometimes. It's also really cool how animals know when a baby is around and not to mess with it.

Jules said...

I love that I NEVER can predict what I am going to read here!!

I saw a doco a couple of weeks ago about dogs licking at their owners cancers on their skin and making them check it out and finding it in time.

Gotta love man's best friend, unless she is shitting on the driveway and yapping at the postman.

In Ink said...

Wow like yeah whatever.

Dan said...

My wife has had two seizure events over the past 15 years. That's not many, I know, but it's scary when it happens and they won't let her drive unless she is taking medication. :(

Cazzie!!! said...

Gawilli, yes, it sure would be great for people who live alone too. The dog could alert neighbours or something to the event.

Spark, yes, I do agree there.

Justacoolcat, yep for sure.

Keshi, amazing hey?

Gman, wow, thats amazing too, I will have to look that one up.

Jay, too right. I remember seeing the flick about Mt St Helens over there at the drive in cinemas and the first signs were the birds flying away and dogs going nutty.

Captain. yep, our dogs we had when I was pregnant with Tomas knew I was pregnant for sure. Thy wre oer protective of me when I walked them...even very early on.

Jules, I'd love to see that docco. And you make me PMSL reading the last sentence, amen to that!!

In ink, yp, way cool..

Dan, very scary things these seizures. So sad, I did witness two of my patients having teir licence revoked by the head honcho of the seizure department..very sad to have that liberty taken away..wishing hey could do this to the road trauma victims who cause accidents..take it away so easily.

Middle Child said...

I have been sitting in a stare a bit too long and hope my doggie understands and just doesn't eat me if I fall off the chair!!!!

poody said...

I have a pt I see at her home who has such a dog. They are amazing.

Eternally Curious said...

Cazzie: To answer your question (sorry so long delayed - I've been distracted lately), I don't know specifically about seizures, but I do know that horses are indeed very helpful in all sorts of human rehab and healing. It's a bit of a newly discovered area, but if you are interested please email me (pjsgifts@msn.com) and I can share what little I do know, as well as some books/authors on the subject.

homo escapeons said...

Canadian Dogs are so smart eh!

We humans sem to have lost those almost mystical abilities in order to accomodate a bigger brain. Who knows maybe we can do all of those things but don't realise it yet.

The other animals live in a different world don't they? Dolphins can 'see' a baby squirming inside of a pregnant Woman with their sonar.

These three pound grey jelly synaptic factories in our skulls are as baffling as the universe.

Every year researchers get a little closer to understanding how we understand things and when they finally get there lookout.

We are incredibly predictable naked apes and when the wrong people find the right buttons to push we are in big trouble.