12 things you didn't know about epilepsy
Here are 12 things you may not know about this misunderstood condition.
1. The word 'epilepsy' comes from the Ancient Greek word ἐεπιλαμβάνειν which means "to seize, possess, or afflict"
2. The oldest known detailed record of the condition itself is in the Sakikku, a Babylonian cuneiform medical text from 1067–1046 BC. This text gives signs and symptoms, details treatment and likely outcomes, and describes many features of the different seizure types.
3. The first drug to be made using a 3D printer was levetiracetam
4. St Valentine is the patron saint of people with epilepsy.
5. Jane Austen had a brother called George who had epilepsy, learning difficulties, and was probably deaf.
6. Seizure triggers can range from sunlight through the trees, to cigarette smoke, to stress.
7. Kelly Osbourne, Susan Boyle and Prince are just a few celebrities who have epilepsy.
8. It has been speculated that historical figures including Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Vladimir Lenin and Harriet Tubman had epilepsy
9. Any organism with a brain can develop epilepsy
10. Dogs can be trained to detect and predict epileptic seizures
11. The hippocampus is an area in the temporal lobes of the brain which is involved in controlling emotion and instinct. The area is called hippocampus because it is shaped a bit like a seahorse and ‘hippocampus’ is Greek for seahorse. The hippocampus is the site of the epileptic focus in some people with epilepsy, so for many years, the seahorse was the symbol of Epilepsy Society.
12. Purple is the colour of epilepsy which is why Cassidy Megan, a young girl with epilepsy from Nova Scotia, Canada created Purple Day. Lavender is recognised as the international flower of epilepsy. The flower is said to symbolise isolation and loneliness, often associated with epilepsy. Interestingly, pure, essential lavender oils are thought to have a relaxing effect on the body and brain and may help to reduce seizures. Spike lavender, however, should be avoided as it may trigger seizures.