Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What does, "epileptiform focus" mean when referring to someone's EEG results?

We got my son's EEG results back, and the doctor tells me this, "..normal background, slow brain wave activity and spikes, isolated chart waves on right side... eplileptiform forcus activity on right side of brain.
blood tests fine and normal. " Can anyone help me decipher this?? The Doc also said that we have to do an MRI to determine if there's a cause for his seizures, that he does appear to have epilepsy. His seizures are rapid eye movements and staring blankly for a few seconds, and he doesn't remember anything during that time. PLEASE HELP ME!! THANK YOU!!
You probably saw the EEG being done, but just in case you didn't I'll tell you roughly what it is. You place a bunch of electrodes all over the patient's head. These things record electrical signals from the brain. When you see signals that start jumping out of control in multiple electrodes, you can look at where those electrodes are placed on the patient's head, which ones have positive signals, which ones have negative signals, and triangulate where the out-of-control signals are coming from.Epileptiform focus is where the seizure starts. Often seizures are the result of a physical abnormality somewhere in the brain. This can be the result of some kind of insult to the brain (e.g., stroke, aneurysm) or the kid could possibly have been born like that. Whatever caused it, you end up with an electrical circuit in the brain that is prone to start firing out of control (positive feedback mechanism, maybe). This is the seizure focus. From there, the out-of-control electrical activity spreads to other parts of the brain and you get the full-blown seizure.Now that the doctor has localized the seizure focus (I don't know how precise they can get it), he wants to use an MRI to see if he can find a physical abnormality there that is causing the seizures. He may or may not be able to find anything.

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