Tuesday, August 18, 2009

More on Epilepsy

So, these dudes at Wesleyan University have decided that stem cells would be a cool way to cure epilepsy. The guy in charge says "It's relatively simple, but, of course, in practice, it's not easy to do." Duh. Anyways, here's what they want to do. They want to take people who have my surgery, and allow the doctor's to take out the "important" parts of the brain, not just gray matter, meanwhile growing neurons in test-tubes that work right. Basically, you'd have to grow a section of a brain that works, and then put it inside of a hole in someone's head. Some "cure". A - They'd still have to have the surgery. B - I'm down with stem cells, but I'm not sure I want scientists growing BRAINS in laboratories. Brains can think. That's kind of inhumane. Grow some livers, grow some lungs... so I can drink and smoke :) but leave neurons alone. That's just cruel. Also, they might revolt.

Also, in epilepsy news:

I hadn't noticed it on my bottle, but the FDA required last December that 11 epilepsy medicines add a warning on the label regarding the risk of suicide. This came after a review found an 80 percent increase in suicidal thoughts among those taking the pills

  • Carbamazepine (marketed as Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol, Tegretol XR)**
  • Clonazepam (marketed as Klonopin)
  • Clorazepate (marketed as Tranxene)
  • Divalproex sodium (marketed as Depakote, Depakote ER, Depakene)
  • Ethosuximide (marketed as Zarontin)
  • Ethotoin (marketed as Peganone)
  • Felbamate (marketed as Felbatol)
  • Gabapentin (marketed as Neurontin)*
  • Lamotrigine (marketed as Lamictal)***
  • Lacosamide (marketed as Vimpat)
  • Levetiracetam (marketed as Keppra)**
  • Mephenytoin (marketed as Mesantoin)
  • Methosuximide (marketed as Celontin)
  • Oxcarbazepine (marketed as Trileptal)
  • Phenytoin (marketed as Dilantin Suspension)**
  • Pregabalin (marketed as Lyrica)
  • Primidone (marketed as Mysoline)
  • Tiagabine (marketed as Gabitril)
  • Topiramate (marketed as Topamax)***
  • Trimethadione (marketed as Tridione)
  • Zonisamide (marketed as Zonegran)
* pfizer is currently in a lawsuit involving a suicide of a women who took nuerontin, which prompted the studies that determined the label should in fact be put on the bottle. The plantiff says pfizer knew about it.
** medication i have taken in the past
*** medication i currently take


  1. 1. I question the causal relationship here. Do the medications cause suicidal thoughts or the illness that the medication is perscribed for cause it.
    2. I was given Topamax to help with anxiety, are anxious people more likely to have suicidal thoughts? Seems likely though thats not proven in the blog comment.
    3. I don't like this. When are you having the surgery?

  2. 1. yeah, its the meds. its true that epileptics have a high suicide rate, but the suicidal thoughts, and the percentage of actual suicides for these specific meds is really high compared not just to the general public, but also to epileptics on other medication.
    2. people with anxiety disorders also have more suicides and thoughts, statistically, but again, these meds are weighed against people on other meds, not against the muggles.*
    3. i dont like it too much either... surgery: im betting on 2010. that's why i decided to go to college this fall!

    *muggle=someone who doesn't take brain altering medication