The results of a new study, presented at the annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society, in Houston, Texas, could help predict which individuals with epilepsy should not be driving and which ones could be driving safely.Study Lead Dr Hal Blumenfeld, at Yale University, commented: “We want to unearth more detail, to learn if there are people with epilepsy who are driving who shouldn’t be, as well those who aren’t driving who can safely drive”.For the study, the team conducted an experiment where they have asked 16 people with epilepsy to use a driving simulator for between one and 10 hours.The results showed that the participants experienced a total of 20 seizures, of which seven resulted in “crashes” in the simulator.The researchers divided the participants into two groups – those who had a “crash” and those who didn’t – and found that seizures lasted an average of 75 seconds in the first group and 30 seconds in the second group.The researchers concluded that the longer the seizures were, the more likely they were to cause a “crash.””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,” said Dr Blumenfeld. “That information could then be used by doctors to objectively determine who can safely drive and who should not,” he added.Approximately two third of people with epilepsy use antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) to keep their seizures under control and can drive. However, for about a third of people with epilepsy, AEDs are not able to control seizures. These people often keep a diary and record the incidence and duration of their seizures, which doctors then use to decide whether or not it is safe for them to drive. However this is a highly subjective way of determining who should and shouldn’t drive.Being able to objectively determine which individuals should not be driving and which ones could safely be driving would have direct implications for the lives of people with epilepsy.Author: Dr Özge ÖzkayaClick here to read more stories about living with epilepsy.
December 6th, 2016|