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Debbie Sharp Loeb, teacher by training but full-time mom to a disabled son, craftsperson, bead artist, great cook, creative homemaker & terrific spotter of cool new products for everything under the sun, presents Hodgepodge: recipes, household hints, stories about children, friends & relatives, cool stuff, music, & much more.

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

VNS Therapy

In Barbara's eMo (6/21/05) she mentioned David having a medical device for his seizures. What he has is a Vagus Nerve Stimulator or VNS. You can read more about it here:
or any number of places over the internet. This particular website is that of the manufacturer of the device,Cyberonics, Inc.
Over the years David has been on many seizure medications. The pattern is that they will work for awhile, a "honeymoon" period so to speak, then levels are raised as high as can be tolerated, as being over medicated will cause him to have seizures as well. Finally he'll have to move onto something else with his body having built up a tolerance to the medication. There were even a few meds that we noticed a change in his personality like him becoming nasty or angry and had to be stopped.
We even used the special Ketogenic diet for seizures for a short time while we were waiting for David to be approved for a trial for a new medication years ago. The diet helped briefly but was extremely hard to manage as David was older at the time, and it wasn't attempted when he was younger as he was a fussy eater and would even gag on some foods. (I believe some due to his neurological problems.)
David still is on a combination of medications. The VNS implant was added in the summer of 2000. (We were running out of medication options that would work effectly for him.) He had had a Grand Mal seizure on Super Bowl Sunday of that year. David has all types of seizures but that was the first time he had ever had one of those. As you can imagine, it really freaked us out to say the least. These still aren't the most frequent of his seizures but the VNS is really helpful in "stopping them in their tracks". You see in addition to the device going off every 5 minutes for 30 seconds, to help "break" seizures, there is a very strong magnet that can be passed over the device to turn it on just a little stronger during the onset of a seizure to help stop it. We have found it to be most helpful for David's bigger seizures.

The VNS device is also being used to treat some forms of depression and you can find out more about that on the Internet or find a Neurologist that specializes in VNS Therapy.


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