New research shows that stomach sleepers with epilepsy may be at higher risk of sudden unexpected death, drawing parallels to sudden infant death syndrome in babies. The study is published in the January 21, 2015, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes repeated seizures and affects an estimated 50 million people worldwide.
“Sudden unexpected death is the main cause of death in uncontrolled epilepsy and usually occurs unwitnessed during sleep,” said study author James Tao, MD, PhD, with the University of Chicago in Illinois and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.
People with tonic clonic seizures (formerly known as grand mal seizures) that affect the entire brain are more likely to die suddenly than people with partial seizures that affect an area of the brain.
For the study, researchers reviewed 25 studies that included 253 sudden unexpected death cases where body position was recorded.
The study found that 73 percent of the cases died in the stomach sleep position, whereas 27 percent died in other sleep positions. Looking at a subgroup of 88 people, researchers found that people younger than 40 were four times more likely to be found on their stomachs at the time of sudden death than people over 40. A total of 86 percent of those under 40 were sleeping on their stomachs, compared to 60 percent for those over the age of 40.
“We’re not sure why this was more common in younger people,” Tao said. “It may be that they are more likely to be single and not have anyone with them during a seizure while sleeping.” He noted that a person sleeping with someone who has a generalized tonic clonic seizure while on their stomach should help them turn over or on the side during or after the seizure.
A total of 11 cases of sudden death have occurred while the people were being monitored with video EEG and their sleeping position was recorded. In all of those cases, all the people were died in a prone position, and most of these people were sleeping on their stomachs before the terminal seizures.
“Similar to infant SIDS cases, adults often have an impaired ability to wake up after a seizure, especially a general seizure,” Tao said.
“Our findings highlight an important strategy for preventing sudden unexpected death in epilepsy—that ‘back is best,’” Tao said. “Using wrist watches and bed alarms designed to detect seizures during sleep may also help prevent these deaths.”
To learn more about epilepsy, please visit www.aan.com/patients
The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 28,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.
For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit http://www.aan.com
Rachel L. Seroka | American Academy of Neurology
Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Oxygen loss in the coastal Baltic Sea is “unprecedentedly severe”
05.07.2018 | European Geosciences Union
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.07.2018 | Information Technology
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences