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Cerebral Palsy & Seizures

Learn about the association between epilepsy and cerebral palsy from Steve Wolf, MD and Patty McGoldrick, NP in this Howcast video.


Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy are a common association. I mean Cerebral Palsy means that you have some kind of motor problem. Cerebral Palsy can be as mild as someone limping to someone who can't walk at all. So a lot of people that have Cerebral Palsy, what people usually think of as Cerebral Palsy, are people who are in a wheelchair. It's called Spastic Quadriplegia, they can't use their arms or their legs. Now not all the time, but oftentimes with that there is some sort of abnormality on an an MRI. And there's a huge increased risk of Epilepsy in people who have Cerebral Palsy. So again not every person who has Cerebral Palsy has Epilepsy, but a lot do. The problem sometimes is though, what you think might be a seizure in a patient with Cerebral Palsy, cause they're so stiff and contracted. Not everybody, but some of them, they can look like seizures, the twitching and jerking, and they actually not be seizures. So it's important to be able to differentiate, because sometimes what happens is we end up treating what is reported as seizures and they're not actually seizures. There just the stiffness and the tightening of their muscles. And you treat that also, but in a different way. So to be a good practitioner you got to be able to differentiate what's being caused, the movements being caused by the Cerebral Palsy and which one are seizures. It's important if you're not sure to do a Video EEG, so you can see the episodes of jerking and twitching, and see what's going on in the brainwaves. And then that will help to determine if medication is indicated or not and then help to make the patient feel better.

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