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Understanding Post-traumatic Epilepsy -1124 words

Post-traumatic epilepsy is a seizure disorder that develops following a brain injury. The risk of post-traumatic epilepsy rises with the severity of the injury.

While post-traumatic seizures are always a risk following a brain injury, not every person who has a seizure following a head trauma will go on to develop post-traumatic epilepsy. Severe head injuries result in epilepsy in 15 percent of adults and 30 percent of children. In cases of penetrating trauma, such as gunshot wounds, the incidence is even more frequent: 25 to 50 percent of people with these injuries will go on to develop epilepsy.

The risk of developing post-traumatic epilepsy also depends on when the seizures start. Early post-traumatic seizures are seizures that occur during the first week following the injury. If a person develops post-traumatic seizures soon after his trauma, he may not go on to develop post-traumatic epilepsy or recurrent seizures. While having an early seizure will increase the risk of further seizures, it is more common that the person will never have another one — about 25 percent of individuals who have a seizure in the first week will have another one at a later time.

Late post-traumatic seizures are seizures that occur one week or more after the injury. They may take years to develop, sometimes happening for this first time 20 years later. Unlike with early post-traumatic seizures, people who have late post-traumatic seizures are likely to have more seizures: 80 percent of individuals who have a seizure later than one week after being injured will have more seizures. Doctors believe that late post-traumatic seizures may be the result of the brain repairing itself and establishing new connections.

Types of Seizures

Whether they occur following an injury or not, seizures occur in two types: focal (partial) and general.

Focal (partial) seizures occur due to disruptions in the neural activity in one part of the brain. They are described in terms of the portion of the brain from which they come. For example, one might be diagnosed with left parietal lobe seizures. There are two types of focal seizures: simple and complex.

In simple focal seizures, the person is conscious but experiences sudden shifts in emotions and mood. He may also have nausea. Additionally, the person may have hallucinations that affect all five senses. For instance, he may smell oranges and feel afraid for no reason.

Complex focal seizures are characterized by states of altered consciousness. The person having a complex focal seizure may engage in an odd and repetitious behavior, such as walking in a circle, blinking repeatedly or twitching. These acts are called automatisms. Sometimes, the behavior may seem purposeful. The person may continue with the task in which he was engaged before the seizure, such as washing the same dish over and over, without actually cleaning it.

Focal seizures don’t last very long — they are over in mere seconds. The person may not even be aware that anything happened. Some people experience strange sensations before the seizure that signifies one is impending.

In contrast to focal seizures, generalized seizures result from abnormal nerve cell activity on both sides of the brain. These seizures often result in a loss of consciousness, falls, and muscle spasms. They are frightening to watch and are what most people think about when speaking of seizure disorders. There are two types of general seizures: absence and tonic-clonic.

Absence seizures, (previously known as petit mal seizures,) are characterized by the affected person staring off into space, as well as jerking or twitching muscles. They are brief, lasting only a few seconds, and the person isn’t usually aware of the episode. They are common in children between the ages of 4 and 12, usually go away by age 18, and rarely start after age 20. It is exceedingly rare for people with post-traumatic epilepsy to have this type of seizure.

The last type of general seizure is the tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizure. This kind of seizure has two phases: the tonic phase and the clonic phase. The tonic phase occurs first. The affected person’s muscles contract and he loses consciousness. His back arches, and because his chest muscles have contracted, he has difficulty breathing. His lips and face may turn blue from the diminished oxygen supply. Following the tonic phase comes the clonic phase where his limbs, including his neck, start to jerk rapidly. As the seizure winds down, the jerking slows and eventually stops. He may emit a deep sigh before beginning to breathe normally again. Following the seizure, the person will fall into a deep sleep.


People with seizure disorders, whether acquired through an injury or not, are at an increased risk of premature death. This risk arises from two secondary conditions relative to their epilepsy: status epilepticus and sudden unexplained death in epilepsy.

Status epilepticus is a life-threatening condition in which a seizure lasts for longer than 5 minutes, or more than one seizure occurs in quick succession, and without a recovery period between episodes. People with traumatic brain injury may be predisposed to develop status epilepticus at some point in their lifetimes. Status epilepticus is a medical emergency. Every year, the number of status epilepticus cases in the United States ranges from 102.000 to 152,000. Of these cases, 55,000 are fatal. Doctors believe that status epilepticus is caused by a heightened level of activity in the cells of the brain along with a failure of structures and systems that prevent seizures from occurring.

Another cause of premature death in people with epilepsy is sudden unexplained death in epilepsy (SUDEP.) For reasons that are poorly understood, people with epilepsy can die unexpectedly without any apparent cause. The victim is usually discovered in bed lying face down. Only about a third of the time, there is some evidence that the individual had a seizure before dying. Some researchers believe that the cause of death in SUDEP may be a seizure that causes a change in the heart’s rhythm, while others believe that it may be suffocation. SUDEP claims 1 out of every 1,000 epileptics each year. This number increases to 1 in 150 when a person’s seizures are poorly controlled.

Post-traumatic epilepsy is common following a severe head injury. It results in repeated seizures caused by disruptions in the neural activity of the brain. It is a life-long condition which can be managed medically. Most people with post-traumatic epilepsy are kept seizure free and lead healthy lives.


Eight Tips for Renting after Foreclosure -700 words

Since the housing crisis began in 2008, approximately 3 million former homeowners have become renters. Economists expect that number to swell by an estimated 3 million more by 2015. If you’re facing the loss of your home, you’re probably worried about how you will find a landlord willing to rent to you. While renting after a foreclosure can prove to be challenging, it may not be as impossible as you think. Here are some tips to help you find a rental:

Avoid the Larger Apartment Complexes

Since the larger, corporate-owned apartment complexes almost always run a credit report as part of the application process, focus instead on smaller apartment buildings or homes owned by private landlords. Private owners are less likely to ask for a credit check. You can find these listings on Craigslist or in your local newspaper. Another way to get around credit checks is to network with friends and family: Ask if they know anyone who has an apartment or house to rent and is willing to forego a credit check, or who is willing to rent to you despite your bad credit.

Use Squatters Rent to Build a Nest Egg

Foreclosures, never a quick process, are still taking months to complete. Make good use of that time to save up the money that you would have spent on your mortgage. This practice is called “squatters rent.” While the term sounds derogatory, it isn’t. It’s a smart way to make sure that you have the money you’ll need to secure your next place.

Be Prepared to Pay More

Since you’ll be perceived as a greater risk to rent to, be willing to pay up to three months rent in advance, plus the security deposit. Have the funds in cash – most landlords will be happy to rent to you if you have cash in hand. If the landlord still appears unsure, offer to pay a larger deposit.

Get a Co-Signer

A co-signer is someone who agrees to assume the responsibility for a debt should the primary signer default. If you arrange to have a co-signer with excellent credit sign the lease or rental agreement with you, you are almost guaranteed to have your rental application approved. A co-signer gives the landlord an extra ensure that he or she gets paid.

Get References

Ask people who know you well to write you letters of reference. Preferably, your letters of recommendation should come from those with whom you have a professional, rather than a familiar relationship. A couple of good examples would be references from your employer or the manager of the local bank branch where you do your banking. If there are people willing to vouch for your character, you may become less of a risk in the landlord’s eyes.

Keep Up with Your Other Bills

While many people going through foreclosure have the kind of devastating financial problems that make it impossible for them to meet their other credit obligations, your troubles may be isolated to a house payment that you can no longer afford. If you can, make sure that you pay your other creditors on time. If the only issue in your credit history is the foreclosure, then you’re in pretty good shape when it comes to getting approved for a rental.

Never Volunteer Information

Don’t lie, but never volunteer information, either. You’re not obligated to give the landlord unsolicited information, or more details than the questions warrant. For example, don’t walk into the owner’s office and present him or her with your reference letter or offer up any lengthy explanations right away. Wait until the landlord asks for them.

Consider Other Types of Housing

If all else fails, consider staying at an extended stay hotel or motel. While they cost more, extended stay motels and hotels don’t run credit checks. Speak to the manager; he or she may be willing to give you a deal on the monthly rate if you say that you’re going to stay for six months or more.

While going through a foreclosure is never easy, finding a rental afterward doesn’t have to be difficult. Since more than 4 million foreclosures have been completed since 2008, the stigma isn’t as bad as it has been in the past. If you know where to look, you’ll be able to secure a rental in no time.



Adaptable and Remarkable: Cat Breeds of the Middle East -1214 words

In the Middle East, people consider cats to be bringers of bad luck. However, the Middle East is the home to several breeds of exotic feline. From the most recently discovered Arabian Mau to the ever-popular Persian, the cats of the Middle East make affectionate and loyal pets.

 Arabian Mau

Among one of the oldest natural breeds, the Arabian Mau has existed for more than 1,000 years. It is mostly a feral cat that lives in and around cities in the United Arab Emirates. Its name derives from “mau,” the Arab word for cat. The World Cat Association only recently accepted the Mau as a breed. The German-based breed association made this announcement during a 2005 Dubai cat show.

Coloration and Appearance

The Arabian Mau has short fur that is rougher than its European counterparts. It is a medium-sized cat with long, high legs and large pointed ears. Its ears are useful in helping it stay cool in the desert heat. Its fur is spotted and comes in many colors, usually a combination of black, brown, gray and white.


This desert cat makes an exceptional family pet. It is very adaptable, having lived among humans for so long. It is intelligent, curious and playful. It loves to jump and uses its long, high-set hind legs to propel it onto bookshelves and curio cabinets. Interestingly, the Mau will only breed with other Maus; it does not breed with other types of cat.


Since the Mau is a short-haired breed with no undercoat, it requires minimal grooming. A quick run-through with a brush to remove dead hairs and stimulate its coat once in a while is enough to keep it looking its best. Like all cats, it occasionally needs its nails trimmed.

Persian Cat

The Persian has been a popular cat since the late 1870s when it made an appearance at the first cat show, which was held at the Crystal Palace in London. Queen Victoria had two Blue Persians. The breed has existed in Europe since the 1500s when it was likely brought over by visiting tradesmen. It did not make it over to North America until the 1800s.

Coloration and Appearance

The broad-bodied Persian has a large round head and heavy short-boned legs. Its tail is short relative to its size, and with its large eyes and short, sometimes flat muzzle, features a sweet expression. Its trademark is its long silky coat, which appears to shimmer and comes in 80 different colors. The most popular color is solid silver.


Often called “furniture with fur,” it has a sweet, docile disposition. It is quite playful and affectionate, yet it is never demanding. While it does best in quiet, calm households, it can adapt to a noisier, more active environment with ease.


The Persian’s long silky coat is prone to matting and requires daily brushing to maintain its appearance. Many Persian owners also trim the hair around the anus to prevent feces from becoming stuck. It is best kept as an indoor cat should be conditioned to accept bathing while it is young.

Turkish Van Cat

The Turkish Van Cat is native to the Lake Van area of Turkey and the bordering regions of Syria, Iran, Iraq and Russia. It may be the oldest breed of cat; there are depictions of a feline resembling the Van on pottery dating back to 5000 B.C.E. There have been Vans in Europe beginning in 1095 when returning soldiers from the Crusades brought them home from Turkey. The cat became recognized as a breed in England in 1969 and 1993 in North America.

Coloration and Appearance

The Van has a distinct piebald color pattern — it has a white body with colored markings restricted to its head and tail. It has a soft, semi-long-haired cashmere-like coat that is water repellant. It is one of the largest breeds of cat, with males weighing 18 pounds and females 8 pounds at maturity. Different colored eyes are common in the Van, a prized trait in its native land.


The energetic Van loves to jump. It loves to be up high, where it can survey its surroundings and its people. Because of its love for heights, it is prone to knocking things off high shelves. It is affectionate and bonds closely with one or two people, usually those with whom it has the most initial contact. The bonds last a lifetime and are so strong that Vans are not good candidates for second homes. It loves water and will swim if given a chance.


Its coat is semi-long but has no undercoat and is not prone to matting. A good brushing once or twice a week is all the Van requires to keep its coat in good condition.

 Bahraini Dilmun (Delmun) Cat

The Bahraini Dilmun Cat is a naturally evolved breed that is native to the island of Bahrain. Its existence is in danger due to cross-breeding with abandoned stray Persian and Siamese cats. Native Bahrainis hold it in disdain, while Bahrain’s large expatriate community loves the breed.

 Coloration and Appearance

It is a spotted cat, with the most common coloration being a brown spotted tabby. Red-spotted tabby occurs as well. Like the Arabian Mau, the Dilmun has large ears, an adaptation to help it keep cool in its hot, desert environment.


The Dilmun is a quiet cat that vocalizes mostly at suppertime. It usually bonds with one person and due to its hunter nature, can be taught tricks. Although not affectionate, the Dilmun is a steadfast companion.


Since the Dilmun is a short-haired breed, it requires minimal grooming. Like other desert cats, it has no undercoat and sheds minimally.

Turkish Angora

Originating in Turkey, the Turkish Angora takes its name from the city of Angora (present-day Ankara). In the early 1900s, it nearly disappeared as a separate breed when Persian cat breeders used it to strengthen their lines. At about that time, the Turkish government started a breeding program to preserve it. American breeders used two cats from this program to establish the breed in North America.

Coloration and Appearance

Although white remains a common and popular Angora color, the breed can come in other colors, both solid and patterned. It has a delicate appearance that belies its agile strength. The Angora’s coat is semi-long and feels soft and silky.


The Angora is an ideal pet for families with children. This affectionate cat loves to play and be the center of attention. It is mischievous, and if left to its own devices for too long, will find some trouble to get into. It loves to jump and climb, so having a cat tree is probably a good idea. It gets along with other pets so long as the others recognize it as the alpha animal.


While it is classified as a semi-long-haired cat, the Angora doesn’t require too much grooming. Its coat doesn’t mat easily. All it needs is a good brushing once or twice a week.

Although the people of the Middle East don’t like cats much, felines have thrived alongside them for millennia. Adaptable creatures, the cats of the Middle East will doubtless continue to thrive and to worm themselves into human homes and hearts.