To Sleep, Perchance to Dream
Shakespeare likened sleep to death, the only difference being the types of dreams each might engender. Had the bard been knowledgeable about sleep cycles, Hamlet would have been more accurate in saying, “To sleep, perchance to dream, then not, then dream, then not, then dream…”
Sleep disorders, disruptions in the sleep cycle, are important to recognize and treat, because sleep is a very busy time of our lives.
The Sleep Cycle
There are basically two types of sleep alternating within a night’s sleep cycle. Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep and Non-rapid Eye Movement Sleep (NREM). The different stages have been classified based on the types of brain wave patterns evident in each. Below is a diary of this cycle from retiring for the night until awakening for the next day:
N1: the transition from wakefulness to sleep. Eye movements are slow and rolling. It is the lightest stage of sleep. T ...
So You Went and Had a Seizure. Now what?
Why go and do a thing like that?
Not funny. No one wants seizures, of course. But this question is actually important, because the reason someone has a seizure is used to determine whether he or she needs to go on anticonvulsants—anti-seizure medication to prevent them.
Epilepsy, defined as a
“sudden change in behavior caused by electrical hypersynchronization of neuronal networks in the cerebral cortex,”
is diagnosed officially after two or more unprovoked (see below) seizures more than 24 hours apart. If this happens, there is the likelihood more seizures are coming1.
Often, getting them is a lifelong commitment, so things must be sorted out clearly on the front end. And even though they may not end up being a lifelong commitment, a commitment to anticonvulsants is always a mistake if that decision is wrong.
Should anticonvulsants be started after a first seizure?
If epilepsy is diagnosed aft ...