Canines Provide Advances In Epilepsy Research

1417 words - 6 pages

In spite of the many claims by animal rights activists, it is quite undeniable that animal-based research has contributed to a substantial amount of improvement not only in the length but also the quality of human lives [3]. Animal models have served in a variety of purposes in the medical field today. They have been used to evaluate possible values of treatments against different types of diseases, and preclinical efficiencies. Chronic studies using animals can serve different purposes, for example, the evaluation of drug effectiveness in treatments, tolerance, and side effects during administration. Animal models can be used to determine the actions of old and new treatments, and certain models can be used to study drug resistance [3].
Epilepsy is considered one of the major neurological problems related to seizure disorders not only in humans, but also in a lot of different animals as well. Recognized in ancient times, epilepsy is a naturally occurring and spontaneous condition difficult to diagnose correctly resulting in repeated seizures over time [1]. Another form is idiopathic epilepsy meaning there is an underlying cause that cannot be determined. Seizures may occur as a onetime event for a variety of reasons. Anything that damages a specific area of the brain can cause epilepsy. Idiopathic epilepsy can be caused by a stroke too small to be detected with a brain scan [1]. Genetic factors have been expected to play a role in the development of epilepsy in as many as 40% of epileptic patients [2]. Being one of the most common neurological diseases, epilepsy has been recorded to affect about 1-5% of the human population at some stage in their life.
In order to properly diagnose epilepsy, a doctor begins with a patient’s history. This relies on a family member of the patient to give a proper description of the timing of episodes in relation to activities performed. The physical examination evaluates a patients’ heart, eyes, abdomen and gum color which provides clues to causes of seizures and the possible treatments that might be required. A neurological examination evaluates the behavior, coordination, reflexes and nerve functions. An electroencephalogram (EEG) and MRI/CT scan can also be used in this process. Idiopathic epilepsy is a little more difficult and can be determined by a process of elimination [1].
Based on clinical symptoms and research discoveries, about two thirds of seizures in adults are considered to be focal and one third are generalized. In children and teens, it has been recorded to have a greater occurrence of generalized by approximately 50% [7]. Major motor seizures, a form of generalized, are classic seizures sometimes also called Grand Mal seizures. The classic seizure itself usually begins with the stiffening of muscles, causing many patients to fall to their side with their head stretched back. This can sometimes lead patients to be very vocal during these episodes. Focal seizures, also known as a partial...

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