Case Notes

Case Study I

Why is there electrical activity in the brain? Describe how it is used by neurons.

The neurons within the brain send signals to each other in the form of electricity. This electricity is passed on from brain to body and vice-versa.

What happens in the brain during a seizure?
In a seizure, the electricity gets to a level that is so high that the brain cannot control the impulses anymore. People lose control of all of their movements.

What is epilepsy? How is it diagnosed?
Epilepsy is the tendency to get many seizures due to environmental changes or just internal factors. Somebody can be diagnosed with epilepsy if they have two or more seizures within a 24 hour period.

What are the procedures for doing an EEG test and MRI scan? What type of information does each of these tests provide? (See here for EEG info and MRI info, make sure you follow the sublinks in the navigation bar on the left for more info)
An EEG machine measures the electrical activity within the brain. It measures and records these on a computer in the form of up and down lines called traces. This can tell one if they have normal or abnormal brain electricity levels. An MRI shows the brain’s structure and form. It can show doctors if there is a problem within the brain causing epilepsy due to an abnormality in the shape of the brain.

What are some possible causes of seizures other than epilepsy?
Seizures can be caused by pregnancy-related high blood pressure. Non epileptic seizures can be caused by mental health issues or emotional stress and conflict.

Based on the information in the case, what type of seizures does Jerrod appear to be having?
It seems to me that Jerrod is having epileptic seizures. They happened within a 24 hour period, and he has no conflict in his life, nor is he pregnant I presume!

What should you do during a seizure to help Jerrod?
During a seizure you should make sure that Jerrod is not going to bite down on anything within his mouth. You should hold his head so that it is not jerked and cannot hurt him even more.
What are some treatments for epilepsy?
Someone diagnosed with epilepsy can be put on a “Ketogenic Diet”, or take many vitamins. There is also a surgery called Vagus Nerve Stimulation, but it comes with many risks. There are also many prescribed drugs for children and adults with epilepsy.







Case Study II:

What is Rasmussen Syndrome (what are its history, symptoms, prognosis, etc.)?
Rasmussen Syndrome is a system of brain malfunctions that affects children from 3 to 11 years old. Not much is known about Rasmussen Syndrome, but it could possibly be a virus triggering an antibody response in the brain. This could cause the brain to malfunction. Symptoms of the disease are frequently occurring seizures. The most common areas of the brain affected are the Frontal and Temporal lobes.

How did the doctors use EEG and MRI to help diagnose the disorder?
The doctors saw that, on the EEG there was a frequency that was abnormal in Jerrod’s brain. The MRI showed that the left side of Jerrod’s brain was abnormally shaped.

What structures or abilities of the brain are concentrated in the areas of the left hemisphere that would be removed in the hemispherectomy?
In the hemispherectomy, Jerrod’s left temporal lobe, so his memory, emotion, hearing, and language may be affected. A good portion of his left frontal lobe would be removed, so his problem-solving skills would have issues.

Other than reducing his seizures, how else might Jerrod’s thinking or behavior be affected by losing these parts of his brain?
Jerrod might have trouble in school due to his decision-making and problem-solving skills being lessened. The left temporal lobe will also be removed, so Jerrod might find it difficult to pull things from his memory.

What types of abilities would he still retain, because the brain structures would remain intact?
He would still be able to maintain homeostasis. His thalamus would still be intact. He would still be able to retain things from long term memory due to his intact hippocampus.

What might the family do to help Jerrod recover after such a surgery?
The family would want to do things to stimulate the right side of his brain. This is going to be the area that is most functional after the surgery. They might want to read up on the effects of the surgery, like memory loss and problem-solving skills and understand that this is what their son will be going through soon.

If Jerrod had the surgery, would his level of functioning get better, worse, or stay the same over time?
At first, Jerrod’s level of functioning would worsen. However, with recovery and rehabilitation, he will get to a point where he will be able to function normally.

What other kinds of questions would you have about the surgery? Can you find the answers?
I was wondering what the consequences of not having the surgery would be. How much damage would there be to the brain?
What decision do you recommend to the family? Why or why not go ahead with surgery?
I recommend that they go through with the surgery. I could not find anything that said what the consequences of not having the surgery would be, but I presume the continuation of brain malfunctioning would be worse than the problems that a child would be faced with after having the surgery.



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