08 August, 2007

Epilepsy, depression, and suicide

When people with a history of psychiatric illness were excluded from the analysis and researchers adjusted for other risk factors associated with suicide, epilepsy patients were still twice as likely to commit suicide as people without epilepsy.

Women with epilepsy and a history of psychiatric disease were 23 times more likely to commit suicide than women without either condition, compared with a tenfold increase in risk among men with epilepsy and psychiatric illness.

(via) (and thanks, Wired, for the image)

And then of course, there's this bit:

Depression is commonly experienced among persons with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). Although evidence exists implicating dysfunction of distributed neural structure and circuitry among depressed persons without epilepsy, little is known regarding the neural correlates of depression in TLE


These findings indicate that both right and left amygdala volumes are associated with depression severity among persons with TLE. Future studies examining the potential role of extended neural regions may clarify the observed structural relationship between depressive symptoms and the amygdala.

And everyone's known for some time that vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) can aid both epilepsy and (unipolar) depression. So why aren't people following up on that correlation and researching drugs (or indeed surgical procedures) which can alleviate both through a common mechanism?

I can't help but read Richard K. Morgan or Iain Banks and wonder when we're going to finally get wetware. We know what to stimulate, we know roughly how much to stimulate, and we have a laundry list of stuff we'd like to address (depression, epilepsy, didactic memory, alzheimer's, parkinson's, the "babelfish" implant, and so on).

In the meantime, tens of thousands of people will continue to die needlessly from any of the above treatable diseases because nobody's got the balls to just start stuffing wires into craniums. Let me start the list here.

  1. Alex Avriette


Tyler and Angela said...

Besides the obvious, "dont do this", I'm only going to say one thing. You have to fight this. I suggest picking up some sort of spirituality. Perhaps become a tibetan monk. But for fucks sake, don't bow out, that's weak.

Alex J. Avriette said...

I'm just saying there's a tight correlation between suicide, seizure conditions, depression and (duh).

Who can blame them, losing their minds a little bit at a time, being forced to change careers?

There's nothing to fight because there's no opponent. Imagine being in a room with a lightsaber flying around lopping off limbs, attached to no body. What do you do? You can't fight; maybe you can run, but for how long can you run? Furthermore, the longer you run (to continue the analogy), the worse you get at running. The higher the chances are you'll stumble, and then it's really over.

Why not pick the moment, right than wait until you're just as dumb as the rest of the world? Fate worse than death in my book , man.

Sharon said...


Epilepsy has gone from an obscure mental illness, to a serious illness recognized by state foundations. This remarkable awareness, is because of the great work organizations, such as yourself, has done. We here, at Disease.com, fully support the cause your organization stands for and we are dedicated to aiding in your mission statement. Disease.com is a website which features disease and infection preventions/treatments. If you could, please list us as a resource or host our social book mark button, it would be much appreciated. Lets dedicate our time to the welfare of the 3 million individuals with epilepsy.
If you need more information please email me back with the subject line as your URL.

Thank You,
Sharon Vegoe