Tip sheet for the June 22, 2004 Neurology journal


Can dogs anticipate seizures in children with epilepsy?

In this study of 45 families by the Division of Pediatric Neurology, Alberta Children's Hospital, about 40 percent reported seizure-specific reaction from their dogs, and about 15 percent of the dogs overall showed the ability to anticipate a seizure among the children they lived with. Children in the study ranged in age from 6.8 years to 17.5 years. The most common response behavior was licking, often of the face, followed by decreased motor activity, "protective" behavior without aggression, and whimpering.

Breeds of the seizure-alerting dogs included Golden Retriever, Standard Poodle, German Shepard, Akita, Rough Collie, Rottweiler, Cairn Terrier, Great Pyranees, and a mixed breed.

The study includes some specific examples of alerting behaviors: A Sheltie-Spitz cross would forcibly sit on her toddler and not allow her to stand prior to a drop attack. An Akita would push her young girl away from the stairs 15 minutes before a convulsion.

Two Italian studies examine side effects of thalidomide in the treatment of skin disease

In one study by the Department of Neurosciences at the University of Padova in Italy, there was no correlation between the incidence of peripheral neuropathy and cumulative thalidomide dose. Another study by researchers at the Clinica Neurologica in Monza found a significant correlation between neurotoxicity and cumulative dose, with the group receiving the highest doses most at risk for developing peripheral neuropathy.

A related editorial puts both studies in perspective and includes a brief history of this controversial drug which received FDA approval for the treatment of certain skin disorders in 1998.

Antiseizure drugs and their effect on bone density and current treatments and quality of life for people with ALS discussed in recent Patient Pages

Twenty previously published Patient Pages can be downloaded from www.neurology.org. The monthly Patient Pages present newsworthy studies and developments in lay language and always include a primer on the disease covered in the study.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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