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What I Learned From My First Reading Session about Seizures

  • More than 2 million people in the U.S. have had seizures and/or been diagnosed with epilepsy
  • The term seizure is a symptom
  • If a seizure is not epileptic, or if a diagnosis is uncertain, it should be described as paroxysmal
  • There are about 32 types of seizures
  • aprox. 50% of seizures never have an identified cause; the other 50% are usually due to underlying diseases or injury of the brain
  • Seizures limited to one portion of the brain are called partial seizures
  • Most seizures last from 30 seconds to 2 minutes

For a fairly common ‘symptom’ very little is known about seizures. Understanding seizures better could improve the lifestyle of thousands of people. Equally important, it could decrease the amount of fear in people who suffer a seizure and are unsure of why it happened, if it will happen again, or when it could happen. Tests to search for underlying causes can also be quite time consuming and expensive, often including an EEG, CT scan, and an MRI. Each test can be very important in indentifying problems, but the quality of the tests do not seem to meet the needs of epilepsy/seizure patients since only 50% of the time a cause is identified.

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This summer I attended the Summer Medical & Dental Education Program at the University of Virginia. As an aspiring doctor, the six weeks were more than worth the time and effort. During the program numerous doctors came to speak to our group of about seventy students on varying topics; everything from plastic surgery, urology, and optimology, to cardiology, radiology, and endocrinology. One of the lecturers, Dr. Cato Laurencin has been acknowledged as one of the top researchers in the world. We were also allowed to enter the anatomy lab where we saw a cadaver and an unfortunate collection of fetuses. In the autopsy area, we handled organs that were normal and damaged, included a human brain, heart, and lung. In smaller groups we toured different areas of the hospital, including the futuristic radiology area. Also, we had a chance to interview people at an elderly care center near Charlottesville. The people running the program were by far some of the most dedicated, caring indivivuals I had ever meet, and the culturally diverse participants were kind and talented. The most important part of the program, even more so than any of the great things I learned, is the friends that I made.

I completed an introduction video that will be on the “world of megasonic” page indefinitely, but for now it’ll be here too.