The neurologist who coined the term “epilepsy” is now battling the disease she once thought was rare.
Dr. Amy E. Fournier, who now lives in Boston, says she has seen a dramatic rise in the number of children and teens with epilepsy, a neurological condition caused by an overactive brain.
“I was always a child psychiatrist and I didn’t know anything about it until my daughter started having seizures and the seizures stopped and she started to go into remission,” Fourniers said.
Fournier believes she’s seen a rise in patients over the last few years.
She says they’re starting to ask about it more and more as the disease is making a comeback in the United States.
“It’s becoming more prevalent in children, so it’s a new kind of illness that I don’t know how to define yet,” she said.
The disease Fourners is fighting has been around for decades.
It’s been described as a brain disorder caused by inflammation of the brain’s white matter, which is made up of nerve cells that connect different parts of the body.
It can cause seizures.
The disorder is rare, but it can be fatal.
Symptoms of the disease can include:Blurred vision or a change in balance.
In the past, doctors thought the disease was caused by something like brain trauma.
But that was a mistake.
“The brain is not the only part of the nervous system,” said Dr. Mark Fournieri, the chief neurologist at Boston Children’s Hospital.
“There’s also the immune system, there’s the immune response, there are also the muscles that we use in movement,” Fressler said.
He believes the new disease has the ability to spread to other parts of your body, and can cause brain damage and seizures in as little as a few weeks.
“If you have a disease like that, there is going to be a lot of damage, and it can go through a whole life,” Fregier said.
She’s working on a vaccine for the disease, but she’s also worried about how quickly it could spread.
“We’re seeing a huge increase in the numbers of people with this, and we have very little control over how many of those people are going to have it,” she told CBS News.
Frisier says her daughter, now 18, was diagnosed with the disorder last year.
Doctors had no idea what was wrong with her until she started getting seizures, and Fourniere said the seizures kept going up.
“She was like, ‘I don’t understand why I can’t move anymore,’ and she’d have seizures, she’d be like, `Oh my God, I can see the lights and the lights are coming on,’ ” Fourniest said.
Doctors told Fourner that the brain damage was just part of a larger disorder called focal cerebral palsy, but Fournie thinks she should have been told that it was epilepsy.
“That would have made the world of difference,” Foutier said, adding that doctors also said she shouldn’t have been given epilepsy medication because it might make the disease worse.
“Epilepsy is a neurological disorder.
We know that,” Frenier said of epilepsy.
But neurologists say they’re not ready to put the diagnosis of epilepsy on the table just yet.
“You need to be clear about how you define it,” said Fournerie.
Franier says she wants to educate the public about the disease.
“So, for example, we’ve been using the word epilepsy to describe the condition for decades, but we don’t really know what the condition is,” Frowner said.
We want to be able to identify the underlying cause of epilepsy, so if there is an underlying cause, we can identify it and we can take it out of the equation.
“Fourniers and her husband have filed a lawsuit against the insurance company that paid for her daughter’s surgery.
They are asking a judge to force the company to reimburse them for the cost of their daughter’s operation.”
They did not do a good enough job of trying to diagnose it.
They should have done more, but they didn’t do enough,” Frainer said of the insurance companies.
Fregier says the insurance claims she’s filed are an example of the kinds of things that she’s dealing with now.”
This is not a new condition.
This is the condition that was going on in my family,” she added.
Froyers says she’s trying to get the word out about the illness to help other families, as well.”
When they first started, I was afraid to say that I have epilepsy, because I was ashamed of it.
But now I’m telling them that I am not ashamed,” she explained.
Frontera is the founder of the Epilepsy Alliance, which provides information about the disorder.
She says the association is working to help families understand the disease and