Study sheds light on safety of driving with epilepsy

December 5, 2016

(HealthDay)—People with epilepsy who experienced longer seizures during a simulated driving test may face an increased risk for crashes while on the road, a new study suggests.

About 75 percent of people with epilepsy use medication to control their seizures and are able to drive. The remainder of typically keep a journal of seizures, noting how long they last, and doctors use that information to determine whether patients can drive safely, the study authors explained.

The new study included 16 people with epilepsy who used a driving simulator for between one to 10 hours, most for an average of three to four hours. In total, the patients had 20 seizures, seven of which resulted in "crashes."

The longer the seizure, the greater the chance of a "crash." Seizures lasted an average of 75 seconds among patients who crashed and 30 seconds among those who didn't crash.

The study was to be presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society, in Houston.

"Our goal is to identify if certain types of seizures—coming from a specific part of the brain or causing a particular brain wave pattern—are more likely to lead to a crash. That information could then be used by doctors to objectively determine who can safely drive and who should not," said study author Dr. Hal Blumenfeld, director of the Yale Clinical Neuroscience Imaging Center, in New Haven, Conn.

Blumenthal, who is also a professor of neurology, neuroscience and neurosurgery at Yale, added that it isn't clear why people who have longer are more likely to .

"It's going to take a lot more data to come up with a reliable way of predicting which people with epilepsy should drive and which should not," Blumenfeld said in a news release from the epilepsy society.

"We want to unearth more detail, to learn if there are with who are driving who shouldn't be, as well those who aren't who can safely drive," he said.

Explore further: Researchers find widespread disruption of brain activity during absence seizures

More information: The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more on epilepsy.

Related Stories

Researchers find widespread disruption of brain activity during absence seizures

November 8, 2016
Scientists believed that absence seizures—the brief loss of consciousness often mistaken for day-dreaming—was caused by a localized disruption of brain activity. A new Yale study finds the entire brain is involved in ...

AES: Studies explore epilepsy, driving regulations

December 8, 2014
(HealthDay)—Three studies address the impact of epilepsy, subclinical epileptiform discharges (SEDs), and "seizure-like" non-epileptic events (NEEs) on driving. The studies are scheduled to be presented at the annual meeting ...

Treatments available for drug-resistant epilepsy

August 22, 2016
One in 26 people will develop epilepsy – a chronic disease characterized by unpredictable seizures—in their lifetime.

Brain stimulation counteracts dangerous side effect of seizures

December 3, 2014
Loss of consciousness is a common and dangerous side effect of epileptic seizures. A new Yale-led study, however, shows that activation of electrodes in key brain areas can awaken rats with induced seizures.

Genes influence sleep/wake timing of seizures in people with epilepsy

March 7, 2016
New research from the Epilepsy Phenome/Genome Project shows that genetics plays a role in sleep/wake timing of seizures. Researchers studied 1,395 individuals with epilepsy in families containing multiple people with epilepsy ...

Some psychotic disorders may be induced by drugs designed to combat effects of epilepsy

August 9, 2016
Today Brain publishes a new study indicating that antiepileptic drugs designed to reduce seizures, may also induce psychotic disorders in some patients.

Recommended for you

New neurons in the adult brain are involved in sensory learning

February 23, 2018
Although we have known for several years that the adult brain can produce new neurons, many questions about the properties conferred by these adult-born neurons were left unanswered. What advantages could they offer that ...

Do you see what I see? Researchers harness brain waves to reconstruct images of what we perceive

February 22, 2018
A new technique developed by neuroscientists at the University of Toronto Scarborough can, for the first time, reconstruct images of what people perceive based on their brain activity gathered by EEG.

Neuroscientists discover a brain signal that indicates whether speech has been understood

February 22, 2018
Neuroscientists from Trinity College Dublin and the University of Rochester have identified a specific brain signal associated with the conversion of speech into understanding. The signal is present when the listener has ...

Study in mice suggests personalized stem cell treatment may offer relief for multiple sclerosis

February 22, 2018
Scientists have shown in mice that skin cells re-programmed into brain stem cells, transplanted into the central nervous system, help reduce inflammation and may be able to help repair damage caused by multiple sclerosis ...

Biomarker, clues to possible therapy found in novel childhood neurogenetic disease

February 22, 2018
Researchers studying a rare genetic disorder that causes severe, progressive neurological problems in childhood have discovered insights into biological mechanisms that drive the disease, along with early clues that an amino ...

Nolan film 'Memento' reveals how the brain remembers and interprets events from clues

February 22, 2018
Key repeating moments in the film give viewers the information they need to understand the storyline. The scenes cause identical reactions in the viewer's brain. The results deepen our understanding of how the brain functions, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.