Generalised Epilepsy

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Epilepsy is an increasingly common brain disorder caused by abnormal electrical activity in various parts of the brain. It can result in intermittent episodes of convulsions, unconsciousness and sensory disturbance, among other symptoms (Epilepsy Action Australia, 2016).
The nervous system functions by using a combination of chemical and electrical processes to control voluntary (somatic) and involuntary (autonomic) movement. This is achieved through the transmission of signals via specialised cells called neurones and nerves, as shown in Figure 1 (livescience, 2016). In the brain, ion channels exist that allow a steady current to pass through by firing regularly. In the event of a seizure, ion channels that have been genetically damaged
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How Neurons Work (Tesch, 2016).
Epilepsy has been categorised into two separate groups based on where the abnormal electrical activity occurs in the brain, as well as the symptoms of the seizure. These are:
Generalised epilepsy:
 Idiopathic Generalised Epilepsy (genetic causes)
 Symptomatic Generalised Epilepsy (cause unknown)
(American Family Physician, 2001)
Partial epilepsy:
 Idiopathic Partial Epilepsy (genetic causes)
 Symptomatic Partial Epilepsy (cause unknown)
(WebMD, 2014)
The most common type of epilepsy found in children is idiopathic generalised epilepsy and idiopathic partial epilepsy.
The type of seizure can depend on the portion of the brain where the misfiring neuron is present. For example, if only a specific area of the brain is involved, it is known as a partial seizure. This can result in:
• Stiffening
• Automatic hand movements
• Hallucinations
• Sweating
• Goose bumps
Generalized seizures occur when a larger area of the brain is affected, often resulting in:
• Unconsciousness
• Uncontrolled movement
• Loss of bladder control
• Confusion once consciousness
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There exist three various forms of the original cannabis plant; marijuana, hash oil and hashish. Marijuana is made using dried leaves and flowers from the actual plant (ncpic, 2015). The main active ingredient in cannabis, the psychoactive agent, is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Cannabidiol (CBD), also a component of marijuana, is thought to not produce the commonly associated feeling of a ‘high’ and can be beneficial when treating childhood epilepsy and various other conditions. The effect that marijuana has on the central nervous system (CNS) is broad and varied, depending on the location of the CB receptors found within the brain, as can be seen in Figure 2. Figure 2. Effects of Marijuana on the Different Parts of the Central Nervous System (TeensHealth, 2013).
The combination of cannabinoid receptors and cannabinoids form the endocannabinoid system. This particular system is found in several areas of the brain, justifying why marijuana can have such varied effects. As the drug is ingested by your body, the influx of cannabinoids in marijuana causes a change in the balance in the endocannabinoid system (Scholastic, 2016). The natural chemicals are overwhelmed and prevented from functioning properly, thus causing:
• Altered senses (seeing brighter colours, etc.)
• Changes in the
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