Case Notes

  • The electrical activity occurring in the brain comes in the form of action potentials. After reaching a threshold, an electrical signal propagates from the axon hillock and down the length of the axon. This signal then reaches the dendrites of the adjacent neuron, causing neurotransmitters to be released. Neurons use this system as form of communication, most commonly referred to as a synapse.
  • During a seizure, the brain experiences abnormal electrical activity. Depending on whether the electricity travels or remains restricted to one area, becomes a deciding factor in what form of epilepsy a patient might have.
  • Epilepsy from the Greek, meaning “to possess, seize, or hold”. Electrical processing abnormalities in the brain beget seizures in epilepsy patients. Also, physical or behavioral changes may occur after the abnormal electrical event because the over-synchronization produces waves. It is diagnosed using patient interviews, and brain scans.
  • EEG (electroencephalography): Detects abnormal electrical patterns, electrodes are typically fastened to a flexible cap (similar to a swimming cap) that is placed on the participant’s head. From the scalp, the electrodes measure the electrical activity that is naturally occurring within the brain. This type of brain scan is passive, no current is delivered. The signal being measured is the difference in charges between the electrodes.
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): Imaging technique used to thoroughly study anatomy of the brain. These scanners require the use of strong magnetic fields and radio waves.
  • Other causes of non-epileptic seizures are because brain injuries, tumors, and drugs. However, it could also be a cause of psychogenic seizures, a direct impact of subconscious thoughts and activities.
  • Jerrod could possibly have absence seizures, characterized mild twitches.
  • In case of a seizure, Jerrod should be not be restricted or held down in any manner, one should speak calmly and clear the room/area of objects that may injure him. If a seizure lasts more than 5 minutes, then 911 should be called immediately.
  • Epilepsy can be treated with anti-seizure medication, surgery or other devices may be considered.



  • Characterized by frequent and severe seizures, loss of motor skills and speech, hemiparesis (paralysis on one side of the body), and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), Rasmussen Syndrome affects one cerebral hemisphere in children under the age of 10. Research indicates that the cause is still unknown, however there are assumptions that it may be similar to autoimmune disease.
  • In order to detect abnormal electrical activity and EEG will be administered. But a MRI scan has the ability to display the progression of tissue damage in the restricted area of the brain experiencing activity. But these forms of brain scanning are used to diagnose the early stages of Rasmussen and to continually observe tissue damage.
  • During the hemispherectomy, the left frontal and temporal lobes may be removed. In these lobes, are where functions such as motor skills, language, and cognitive abilities are located. Also, the ability to express emotions, associated with the temporal lobe, may also be impacted as well.
  • After losing these parts of his brain, Jerrod may have difficulty with movement abilities on the right side of his body. It is also possible for Jerrod to experience impairment in cognitive and language skills as well.
  • Jerrod goes through surgery, he will retain complete control in terms of movement, on the right side of his body. Research reports that Jerrod may also be able to increase his IQ.
  • After a hemispherectomy, patients tend to receive therapy regarding speech, motor, and occupation. However, another form, outpatient therapy is given to ensure that speech and motor skills can be regained and help the patient function like normal children.
  • If it is decided that Jerrod will have the surgery, there is still a high chance for to improve his intelligence and better yet, lessen the brain damage brought on by the seizures. However, Jerrod may have difficulty with controlling the right side of his body.
  • My question was regarding the success rate of undergoing a hemispherectomy. Nearly 75 to 80% of patients have control of their seizures.
  • I would recommend that Jerrod’s parents go through with the surgery. It will lessen the burden of daily seizures and inhibit further brain damage. Despite the possible risks and consequences, Jerrod still has a chance to boost his IQ and live a normal life.


2 responses to “Case Notes”

  1. Brianna Margaret Cathey says:

    Hi Swathi, I agree that Jerrod could be having absence seizures. An cool fact about the origin of the word ‘epilepsy.’

  2. Aiswarya Nagasubramony says:

    I agree that Jerrod’s parents should go through with this surgery, as life post-surgery sounds like it has much more potential for Jerrod than it does living with Rasmussen Syndrome.

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