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Ictogenesis: the origin of seizures in humans. A new look at an old theory

Authors
Journal
Medical Hypotheses
0306-9877
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
60
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s0306-9877(02)00348-1
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine

Abstract

Abstract Seizure (ictal) behavior in humans has been observed and recorded since ancient times. A satisfactory solution to this vexing problem continues to elude medical science. Antiepileptic drug (AED) therapy fails to control seizures in 20% of patients with primary generalized epilepsy and 35% of patients with partial epilepsy and has many side effects, including death. This paper cites evidence from the current literature that supports a plausible hypothesis of seizure genesis that was published in 1942, but somehow escaped recognition. It presents a concept that challenges contemporary thinking and may provide the basis for a much needed paradigm shift in the understanding of the nature of seizures and an approach to their management. The theory views a seizure as a natural reflex defense response to a lethal threat to the brain. Although capable of inflicting bodily injury due to falls, drowning, etc., the seizure is not considered inherently harmful to the brain and may be associated with beneficial circulatory changes. Efforts to control and prevent seizures should be directed away from pharma-chemical suppression towards developing methods and bioactive agents that promote neuroplasticity, neurogenesis, and an optimized physiological milieu within the brain.

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