Migraine and Seizure Spectrum

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It seems that everything in the brain once properly researched is found to exist on a spectrum of connection rather than unrelated events or disorders. As someone with a disordered brain, this is not surprising to me whatsoever. I read through lists of overlapping symptoms. My neurologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, neuropsychologists, and a few others involved in studying and healing my brain are never 100% sure of my diagnosis, like to change my diagnosis and treatment plan often.

What is obvious – something is wrong with my neurons. It affects every part of my body and my life. I have migraines – do I also have seizures? I take anti-seizure meds to control for both. I have never had a complete grand mal drop to floor tonic clonic type of experience. I have had bouts of vision loss, confusion, garbled hearing and speech, limb weakness and shaking. They call this migraine aura because it lasts too long to be seizure activity.

It seems unclear now to researchers though, that perhaps a seizure could occur DURING a migraine. Triggered by the unbalanced electrical activity and intense pain and stress chemicals. Hmmm. I have had sudden waves of intensity of something, sparks of more misery during the hours of already intense migraine misery. I think it is possible. No one has an EEG on me while my head is packed in ice, while I’m lying on my bathroom floor in a 12 hour vomiting cycle, trying to pull what feels like an ice pick out of my brain, writhing around, barely conscious, unable to speak, my heart racing, going from ice cold to sweating buckets, my breathing fast and shallow. I’m afraid I will die while simultaneously somewhat wishing I will die to end this suffering.

http://news.psu.edu/story/332549/2014/10/30/research/link-seen-between-seizures-and-migraines-brain – “Seizures and migraines have always been considered separate physiological events in the brain, but now a team of engineers and neuroscientists looking at the brain from a physics viewpoint discovered a link between these and related phenomena.

Scientists believed these two brain events were separate phenomena because they outwardly affect people very differently. Seizures are marked by electrical hyperactivity, but migraine auras — based on an underlying process called spreading depression — are marked by a silencing of electrical activity in part of the brain. Also, seizures spread rapidly, while migraines propagate slowly.

… “We know that some people get both seizures and migraines,” said Schiff. “Certainly, the same brain cells produce these different events and we now have increasing numbers of examples of where single gene mutations can produce the presence of both seizure and migraines in the same patients and families. So, in retrospect, the link was obvious — but we did not understand it.”

… “What they found was completely unexpected. Adding basic conservation principles to the older models immediately demonstrated that spikes, seizures and spreading depression were all part of a spectrum of nerve cell behavior. It appeared that decades of observations of different phenomena in the brain could share a common underlying link.

“We have found within a single model of the biophysics of neuronal membranes that we can account for a broad range of experimental observations, from spikes to seizures and spreading depression,” the researchers report in a recent issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. “We are particularly struck by the apparent unification possible between the dynamics of seizures and spreading depression.””

Sometimes I want to buy my own EEG and try to capture events at home. But I also know that some partial seizures can be so brief and deep inside the brain that they may be nearly impossible to detect. All I have are my odd sensations and actions, memory loss, confusion, my family asking what is wrong.

I don’t know exactly what is wrong. What are my neurons doing today?

 

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