Quote of the Day!

Here is today’s quote from the famed author Charlotte Bronte:

I don’t think, sir, you have a right to command me, merely because you are older than I, or because you have seen more of the world than I have; your claim to superiority depends on the use you made of your time and experience.

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November is Epilepsy Awareness month

Many people may not be aware that November is Epilepsy Awareness  month, and the logo is a purple ribbon.

On Saturday, I attended the 2nd Into The Light Walk, a 3 mile walk in New York. It is about Epilepsy Awareness, and people with epilepsy can meetup, share experiences, and raise funds. It was a truly an awesome experience I must say. Never been to such an event, that is purely about  and with people with epilepsy (I  have only known one other person in my life with epilepsy). It was a larger attended event this year, as over 1200 people finished the walk, along with their friends and family, that raised nearly $100000 for epilepsy awareness.

Going along with members of an epilepsy meetup group in New York, I met for the first time (there were 10 of us). I chatted to people about our experiences, the perceptions, and difficulties of the epilepsy condition. We may of had differences in our seizure types, some even had brain surgery…but friendships developed, and contacts made.I expect it will continue to grow.There were people of all ages,genders, and race whom

Next year :March 14th 2014 there is the annual walk in Washington D.C, of which I intend to do.Therefore have a seizure free week, month, year that can lead to a driving license, and no constraints.

 

 

Quote of the Day:

A couple of quotes I came across, would be useful to know:

Tell me and I forget, Teach me and I remember.

Involve me and I learn.

-Benjamin Franklin

Also:

There are three things to aim at in public speaking:

first, to get into your subject, then to get your subject into yourself

and, lastly, to get your subject into the heart of your audience.

-Alexander Gregg

Quote of the Day!

I haven’t done this for a while , but here are some quotes:

People grow through experience, if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.  Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

Eleanor Roosevelt.

Also:

It is better to live one day as a lion than a thousand days as a lamb.

Roman Proverb

Life is a series of comebacks.

Tom Scott

The role of dogs in detecting seizures

I have been asked about this a couple of times at networking events, and that is the role of dogs, or the correctly termed  Seizure-Alert Dogs. It has evolved over the past  15-20 years, and the aim is for dogs to alert people with epilepsy of an oncoming seizure minutes or hours before they occur. This is where it seems the experts disagree to the effectiveness of their intended use.

It seems  the detection of an oncoming seizure is still a bit of a mystery as to how a dog can detect this and why. Some trainers and experts believe that they can detect subtle changes in a person’s behavior or scent before a seizure occurs. A 1998 study by Delziel, Uthman and colleagues at the university of Florida, that involved 29 dog owners who had epilepsy, of these nine reported that their dogs responded to a seizure and remained close to their human companion. This was done by the dog either standing or lying next the person during or immediately after the seizure. Of these dogs, three were reported to alert their human companion to an impending seizure.

Although this was a small study, this suggested that dogs can alert such behavior regardless of breed,age or gender. This study suggested that a dog is likely to alert a person if they have a certain type of seizure, and auras. However, Dr Gregory Krauss at the John Hopkins school of medicine suggests that many patients actually have Psychogenic Non-epileptic seizures (PNES) or events resembling a seizure, these aren’t caused by the characteristic electrical discharges that is associated with epilepsy. Therefore the Neurologist has incorrectly diagnosed the patient as having epilepsy.

A study by Adam Kirton in Calgary of families of children with epilepsy. who had seizure response dogs. Forty per cent of families reported that their dogs developed an ability to respond to a seizure. The families reported that about 20%  of their dogs showed alerted behavior prior to the children’s seizures.

The training of Seizure Alert dogs for people with seizure disorders, especially the training of dogs that are able to sense and alert to a person’s oncoming seizures, is still a new and evolving field.It is a challenging area where more research must be done to answer the questions about how and why some dogs have this ability, and determine a method to easily identify these dogs.

Memory and epilepsy:Part 2

In my previous article we looked at how our memory is affected by epilepsy. This is about how using memory aids, we can provide strategies to limit these problems.We all have problems with our memory, and there are other issues  that can affect us such as dementia or old age.

To start with, It is good to use practical memory systems such as post-it notes, calendars,diaries,or drug wallets.

Post it Notes: I am a great one for making lists, whether this be for shopping,things to do that day or week eg phone calls to make, emails to send, daily tasks we all have to do.I have seen some people’s office desks covered with notes, around their computer or office wall. I often underline them as well or write in different colored pens, as I am a great highlighter.

Calendars:There are two calendars in our house, but I have my own which I can underline,circle, write comments,as I tend to do.

Diaries:I always use one, although do need a larger professional one, rather than the moderate sized one I currently have. It is good for keeping  appointments,keeping track of what you need to do, and is also good method to keep track of your seizures.However It can get clotted up, especially if you have cancellations or other adjustments to make.

Medication wallets or trays: I started using this,as sometimes I couldn’t remember if I last took my last dosage, admittedly that has always happened from time to time over the years.I  now have a weekly tray with my dosages filled, by myself for the twice daily intakes for the week ahead. I just need to check when I last took my medication, in case I forget, and I am in the habit of  topping up my tray for the next 5 or 6 days, and take it with me for vacations, plus extra supplies, if I need them or in case I lose some.

Cell phones:I suspect everybody does this now, as I routinely update my calendar on my phone, often daily and then weekly, when events occur. Some people may also have calendars on their laptop. I get reminders also for appointments whenever they occur via email.

Other techniques: Mnemonics or memory techniques can be used to help memorize information.These take practice, so you need to work out what is suitable for you. This could be by using stories,image or rhyme as methods to retrieve factual  or other information.

Ever have the feeling you have the word or words ‘on the tip of your tongue’ , you could try what is known as ‘alphabetical’ searching by searching for a word that you are looking for by going through the alphabet. It can be a prompt way to retrieve the word you are looking for.However as an afterthought, ever noticed, when hours later, when asleep or relaxed the word you are looking for pops into your head!

Remembering someone’s name:This is the one I struggle with, whether short-term or long-term. Simply ask someone else to remind you of their name, helps in certain situations, in advance if possible, as I have done and write them down. When meeting someone for the first time, get them to repeat their name to check you heard correctly, and write it down later, if they have are no business cards. You can adapt a strategy of  picturing a visual  image that goes with the person’s name eg the person sitting on a bridge as their name is Mr Bridge, or rhymes similar to the name eg Joan for a moan, and physical features to remember a person name such as a lemon for Mr Lemon. This is similar to the Image-Name technique in which you invent a relationship between the name and the physical characteristics of the person.

Remembering where you put something: Try concentrating where you put something eg keys, or get into a standard routine, of where you put something down. I always leave my keys in the same place, in a small tray, or my extra medications are all together in the same place next to my bed. This I do to see what needs to be refilled, and they are easily located.I tried putting them away in a draw, but tended to forget about refills or how much I had left. My professional files are put in the same box, my medical notes, financial/pension files are in others.These can be easily retrieved.

Using sayings or rhymes: For information involving key words or Acronym are great to recall  information, as well as studying for exams. A 10 year old me , still remembers Never Eat Shredded Wheat, for  where :North.South,East ,West lies clockwise,or Richard Of York Gave battle In Vain, can remind you of the colors of the Rainbow:red,orange,yellow,green,blue,indigo,violet, or BRASS for how to shoot a rifle:Breath,Relax,Aim,Sight,Squeeze.

Use pictures or mind mapping: by drawing  a picture or diagram that represents what you are reading or studying, helps you to recall information. Mind maps are where you draw a map or diagram of information using keywords or phrases,this can be a helpful technique to learn.The Loci Method, is used to remember about 20 items, this is used to imagine placing items you want to remember, in specific locations in a room with which you are familiar.

Simple Repetition used correctly is an effective way to convert short-term memory to long-term memory, especially with other techniques such as with visualization or mind maps it can help.

I have come across a few other techniques that you can try: Link,Chain, or Story Method, or Actively Paying Attention.

The Link,Chain, or Story method:

This method is best for memorizing long lists eg remembering the presidents in order. Word manipulation could go like this:A man washes a ton(Washington) of clothes in a river.Suddenly the river goes dry, as the water is blocked by huge dams (Adams). A man asks his ‘deaf’ son(Jefferson) to take his clothes. Thus by creating an image that coincide with items on a list, the easier it will be to remember.

Actively Paying Attention:This is something  many people are guilty of. In order to use our memory to maximum capacity, we need to be conscious of every bit of information we receive. Have you ever forgotten a person’s name as soon as you shook their hand? Or directions as soon as you are given them? Or memorizing a cell phone number, or some instructions? These are common example of not paying attention.By paying more attention, and quickly converting to images, and review it a few times mentally, and it will be easier with practice.