The Pathology of TBI-Related Seizures

Dr. Amy Wagner talks about seizures — a common complication after a brain injury, especially one that is more severe or from a penetrating injury — and how and why they develop after injury.

See "Research on Post-Traumatic Depression," also with Dr. Amy Wagner.

So there are a number of complications that do occur after brain injury, and they are very wide ranging. As you can imagine, the brain is so diverse in what it manages and controls for the rest of our body. But for instance, one particular complication that happens quite frequently after brain injury is the development of post-traumatic seizures. But who is likely to get seizures, what is the underlying pathology that contributes to that vulnerability or susceptibility is still something that we're working out in the research realm--understanding those processes. There are some clinical factors that--I think--most people agree upon that do contribute to risk for seizure. So, first of all the severity of the injury is very important; people with more severe injuries tend to be more likely to have a seizure, people who have a penetrating head injury as opposed to what we call a closed head injury where there's not a fracture of the skull, there's not an open head wound. And even for people who have a closed head injury but they wind up having the type of injury that requires a surgical intervention, that intervention in and of itself--while life-saving--is also considered a risk factor for brain injury because--again--you've gone in, opened up the skull cavity, breached the dural covering, that encases the brain, and those types of manipulations can place somebody at a little bit more risk for seizures. But what we're finding is that there are some genetic factors and traits that are seemingly important with regard to risk for seizures, and fit well with what we think might be involved in the pathology that's in line with how seizures develop after brain injury.
Posted on BrainLine February 8, 2013.

Produced by Brian King, Vicky Youcha, and Lara Collins, BrainLine.