Grand Mal Seizure And Stem Cell Therapy

stem cell bookGrand mal seizure, also known as the generalized tonic-clonic seizure, is a dysfunction of the two sides of the brain. This dysfunction is usually due to the irregular spreading of electric impulses and signals in the brain. In some cases, these signals would be sent to the muscles, glands and other organs. This would eventually lead to the patient losing consciousness and having serious muscle contractions. It’s common to associate seizures with epilepsy, however grand mal seizure is different from epilepsy. Grand mal seizures can occur due to many reasons, some of them include hypoglycemia, head trauma, severe fever and so on.

Grand mal seizure occurs in two stages. The first phase is the tonic stage. In this stage, the affected individual experiences muscle rigidity, loss of consciousness, and may even trip or fall. On the other hand, the clonic phase presents with fast muscle contractions. The combined duration of these two stages is usually around sixty to 180 minutes.

  1. Tonic phase: In this phase, the patient will experience loss of consciousness, and the muscles will become rigid and tensed. This causes the limbs to be retracted towards the body or pushed away from it. This series of events causes the affected individual to fall if standing or in a seated position. This phase occurs rapidly, and usually only last for a few seconds. Some patients might make some noise when they’re about to start having the seizures. This loud noise can be attributed to air being forcefully ejected from their lungs.
  2. Clonic phase: This phase is characterized by fast muscle contractions, and subsequent rapid relaxation, leading to convulsion. Clonic phase is characterized by overexpressed twitches of the extremities to the violent vibration of the rigid limbs. The patient becomes restless and may roll as the seizure spreads to other parts of the body. It’s important to keep delicate and dangerous away from people who suffer from Grand mal seizures because they might hurt themselves. The patient’s eyes are usually shut, and the tongue may roll back when they’re having this kind of episode. The patient might also experience bruises and other serious types of injuries. In addition, the limbs of the patient might become cyanotic and renal incontinence could also occur.

What Are The Symptoms Of Grand Mal Seizures?

  1. Tonic phases: The tonic phase presents with loss of consciousness and muscle rigidity. Patients might also fall down while standing, or even in seated position.
  2. Clonic phase: Patients experience a rapid contraction of muscles, followed subsequently by fast relaxation of the muscles. They also experience convulsions that last between a minute to three minutes.

In addition, patients might also experience some of the following symptoms

  1. Loud noise: This is more predominant in the tonic phase of grand mal seizures. Patients would often shout at the beginning of the seizures. This noise is due to air being expelled from the lungs.
  2. Renal incontinence: This usually occurs during an episode of a seizure. However, it could also occur after the seizure.
  3. Disorientation: Patients might appear confused after a grand mal seizure. This is normal, and it’s often referred to as the postictal confusion.
  4. Tiredness: An episode of a grand mal seizure requires and takes a lot of energy from the patient. Considering the numerous contractions, and muscle rigidity, coupled with the falls and noise. The patients are usually exhausted at the end of a seizure and might feel like sleeping afterward.
  5. Patients might become unresponsive immediately after having a seizure: Patients might remain unconscious immediately after an episode, and it usually takes a while for them to regain their consciousness back.
  6. Headaches: Patients might also present with a serious headache, after a grand mal seizure

A seizure that persists for more than ten minutes is life-threatening and is known as status epilepticus.

What Part Of The Brain Do Grand Mal Seizures Originate From?

Tonic-clonic seizures can originate from one or the two sides of the brain. They are called generalized tonic-clonic seizures when they originate from both sides of the brain.  On the other hand, they are called bilateral tonic-clonic seizures when they start in one side of the brain.

Who Is At Risk Of Having Grand Mal Seizures?

  1. Grand mal seizures can affect both old and young people, even children, however, children tend to overcome this condition, as they grow older. Patients who have not had any seizures for at least a year may totally overcome the condition if they took their medications consistently during this period. They may gradually become less dependent on their medications, till their physician decides to take them off the meds totally.
  2. In addition, the chances that an individual will have seizures is dependent on some factors, such as the outcome or result of the electroencephalogram.
  3. For example, children with a record of grand mal seizures but that has a normal electroencephalogram result, and a normal neurological evaluation has a high chance of overcoming the condition without drugs. According to studies, the probability of being seizure-free is over seventy percent
  4. On the other hand, a child that has had seizures, coupled with an abnormal electroencephalogram, or that has some epilepsy waves have a poor chance of overcoming this condition. According to statistics, the probability that they’d overcome this condition off medicine is about 30 percent.
  5. Lastly, children that have the seizure signals originating from both sides of the brain have more chances of coming off seizure medications, and fare better, as compared to those that have seizure signals originating from one side of their brain.

How Is Grand Mal Seizure Currently Treated?

Patients are placed on anti-seizure drugs. Some of these drugs are carbamazepine and phenytoin. They usually have to use the pills every day to avert any seizure occurrence.

Stem Cell Therapy Of Tonic-Clonic Seizure

There are two approaches to the treatment of this type of seizures;

  1. Neurons are implanted into the brain– Inhibitory neurons, developed from stem cells from a section of the brain that controls inhibitory activities
  2. Pluripotent stem cells are introduced into the body. These stem cells are capable of developing into neurons. They proliferate, repair and replace the abnormal tissues of the brain


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Ponnusamy, A., Marques, J. and Reuber, M. (2012). Comparison of heart rate variability parameters during complex partial seizures and psychogenic nonepileptic seizures. Epilepsia, 53(8), pp.1314-1321.