Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Smells like left brain

A key epilepsy question (at least to a neurologist) is "Where in the brain is the seizure coming from?"

As a result of this, we neuro docs look for clues as to which side of the brain is the seizure trigger, so to speak (we call it "lateralization"). Sometimes the answer is obvious on MRI or EEG, sometimes it's more subtle. In those cases we have to look for details in the patient's history or exam that lead us to the answer. Different findings have what we call "lateralizing value", meaning how useful it is.

Now, I'm all for further research into this. But, I have to say, some researchers looking for new lateralizing features have gone a bit too far. Or at least shown a determination to notice things that I don't want to.

(Neurology word: "Ictal" means "seizure-related")

Click to enlarge





I'd like to thank the Science Marches On Department for bringing this important research to my attention.

16 comments:

Dr. Rob said...

Easy test to localize: if you can elicit flatulence by pulling on a finger of the left hand, it's on the right side of the brain (and vice-versa).

The Mother said...

I'm so glad they did this study. Because I would have incorrectly assumed that ictal flatulence was correlated with colonic gas, and therefore diet.

Silly me.

Walt said...

So, they looked at four years of patients, and only found two with this attribute, and report that they couldn't draw any conclusions from a sample of two! Duh.

Amazing they got published for that. There doesn't seem to be a need for a paper beyond the abstract. Are there self-publishing medical journals now?

Anonymous said...

Dr. Rob.
For what it's worth the current WV string is "pully", apt 'eh?

Laura Williams said...

Brings on a whole new definition to the term 'brain fart' ....

alex said...

That term had a definition before now?!

Cthulhu Sashimi said...

Couldn't they look at which part of the brain received the olfactory nerve stimuli, under the "He who smelt it, dealt it" principle?

KateA said...

I have had two dogs that presented for severe abdominal pain related to the autonomic seizure phenomenon. On that we ended up euthanizing after 3 weeks of extensive testing, pain management, and different combinations of seizure medications because we could not control the pain.

Are autonomic seizures in humans painful? My patients would scream and snap at their stomachs.

Lemmons998 said...

I came here to comment on the amount of patients they actually found (2???)and how the hell did this get published??? .... but I see Walt already did that... sooo... what he said!

Diana said...

WTF? I hope tax dollars didn't go into this. A fart is a fart, period.

Moose said...

Some scientists are all about the hot air.

SECRET PEPPER PERSON: said...

I'm not a neurologist, I just play one at home with two adopted children who have seizure disorders. Who cares if my child farts while they are in the middle of a tonic-clonic seizure? Who funds these studies? Oh and i beg to differ regarding a fart is a fart. Ever smell a c-diff fart? I know... it's hell to be a pediatric nurse at times. Sorry

Rothase said...

When my epileptic husband has a seizure (which is not often anymore- thank you Keppra), he makes this very strange sound, like he is sucking in all the air in the room. I never noticed if that same air went out the back door. KateA, I am very sorry to hear about your dogs. My husband's seizures are tonic-clonic, so they are not the same sort of seizure. He doesn't have pain beforehand, just sometimes auras. Of course, he has plenty of pain afterward- he hits his head, or bumps into things, during the seizure, and then he has terrible muscle pain (and a chewed up tongue) for several days. He takes a lot of motrin for it, but that's about it.

Word verification: Maerytis- when your martyr becomes infected?

a.generic doc said...

So, now will you add to your review of systems, "Do you fart when you fit?"

and/or

"Does your wife have a fit when you fart?"

Queen Silly Britches said...

So is it "do you have a seizure when you fart" or "fart when you have a seizure?"

the WV is "misted", how appropriate.

RehabNurse said...

I'm gonna ask our neuro boss, "So is everyone here having brain farts, or is it just me?"

And most importantly, will a brain fart smell? We already have too many "interesting" smells on the day shift.

I love scholarly publications! See it doesn't take much to get rehab nurses laughing.

 
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