Epilepsy causes and cures: How the keto diet, cannabis and other treatments affect seizures


Epilepsy is an unpredictable and often misunderstood disease. When the condition isn’t controlled, seizures can happen at any time and disrupt your life, relationships and wellbeing.

Neurologists and neurosurgeons at the Nebraska Medicine Comprehensive Epilepsy Center can help you live seizure-free. Find out the latest treatment options for people with epilepsy – including whether the keto diet or cannabis derived medications are effective against seizures.

What a seizure looks like

Symptoms depend on the part of your brain affected, which determines what type of seizure you have. Most people with epilepsy will have similar symptoms from seizure to seizure. For example, patient Meg Busing experienced her seizures as “staring spells” every time.

Epilepsy symptoms can include:

Temporary state of confusion 
Episodic memory loss
Staring spells, or looking blankly in one direction
Falling to the ground in convulsions
Involuntary screaming
Stiff muscles
Uncontrollable twitching or jerking of the arms or legs
Fear or anxiety
Intermittent speech difficulties

How epilepsy is diagnosed

To help diagnose epilepsy, doctors can use a magnetoencephalography or MEG scanner. “On the MEG scanner, someone with epilepsy will have a distinct pattern of brain activity compared to that in a person without epilepsy,” explains neurological researcher Valentina Gumenyuk, PhD. 

It’s important to come to an experienced epilepsy center like ours to ensure you receive the right treatment. “We’ve provided cutting-edge specialized care for seizures at our center for over 15 years,” says neurologist and epilepsy specialist Olga Taraschenko, MD, PhD. “We can determine the most suitable treatment for your specific condition.”

Early diagnosis and treatment are important to prevent the disease from progressing and causing long-term health consequences. Untreated, recurrent seizures can cause lasting damage to the brain and even death.

What causes seizures?

Seizures are temporary, abnormal changes in electrical activity in the brain. 

Seizure onset – or where seizures come from – can vary greatly. “Your brain waveforms are like fingerprints – unique to you,” says…



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