Research: seizures

Are you in the middle of Before I Sleep? This blog post discusses research I did while writing that book, so continue to read at your own risk. Things get very mildly spoilery here.

When most people think of an epileptic seizure they think of a Grand Mal seizure, in which the person falls down and shakes, with his or her eyes rolled back. While some epileptics do have this kind of a seizure–now called a tonic-clonic seizure, rather than Grand Mal–there are many other kinds, too.

One that is common among children is the absence seizure, formerly called a Petit Mal seizure. These seizures involve a very brief spell of unconsciousness, followed by near-instantaneous recovery. They can be triggered by all kinds of small stressors. The little chap in this video–whose identical twin brother also has them–is triggering one on purpose by hyperventilating.

If you’ve finished chapter 3 of Before I Sleep, you’ll appreciate watching this. I love this kid–he’s plucky and has a good sense of humor about the whole thing, and he asked to have the video made and posted so that his teachers at school, who thought he was rolling his eyes at them, will understand what’s going on.


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