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
Some brain tumors may respond to immunotherapy, new study suggests
11.12.2018 | Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Climate change and air pollution damaging health and causing millions of premature deaths
30.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.
Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.
Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
12.12.2018 | Health and Medicine
12.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
12.12.2018 | Health and Medicine