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Study into tooth-brushing as a trigger for seizures

13 March, 2007

Tooth-brushing may trigger seizures in certain people with epilepsy,
and lesions in a specific part of the brain may be the reason according
to researchers in an article published in the March 6, 2007, issue of
Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The
article looked at the cases of three adults with epilepsy who had
seizures while brushing their teeth. Two of them said that some of
their seizures happened when they brushed certain areas of their mouth.
The seizures varied from jerking and twitching of the face to
salivating vigorously. The seizures were confirmed by video monitoring.

Researchers found all three patients had lesions in the
part of the brain that interprets sensations and feelings, close to the
areas that control speech and hand movement.

"The
rhythmic act of brushing teeth may excite an already overly excitable
area of the brain", said study author Wendyl D'Souza, MBChB, MPH, a
member of the American Academy of Neurology. "This is similar to
photosensitive epilepsy, which involves seizures triggered by flashing
lights and moving patterns.

"Since tooth-brushing involves
persistent rhythmic action, this may explain why this trigger is more
likely to induce seizures in the somatosensory area of the brain
compared to other oral stimuli, such as eating", said D'Souza.