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Old 03-26-2011, 11:48 PM
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Seizures that affect math???


This may be a strange question, and I know it's long-winded, but any ideas would be appreciated

I know some people have seizures that affect speech and other cognitive areas, but Iíve never heard of anyone having seizures that affect ability to do basic math. I sometimes find that when Iím counting out money at a cash register or just even talking about numbers, my brain just seems to disengage. It doesnít happen all the time, usually Iím my normal mediocre mathematical self, but it happens often enough to be a bit worrying.

It could be my brain tumor or the surgery for the bt that causes the problem, but the fact that it is sporadic makes me think it might be seizure related. Also, the only eeg Iíve ever had, done the morning after my first seizure - simple partial motor onset, secondarily generalized Ė showed abnormal activity in my parietal lobe. I think a lot of math processing is done in the parietal lobe. Oh, another thing which may or may not be relevant is that in my post-ictal state after that first seizure, I started counting by twoís. I donít remember it, but Iíve always thought it must mean something, like the math portion of my brain was still really crackling.

Anyway, when this happens, my brain is like a car engine with the clutch pushed in; the engine is running, but no wheels are turning.

Some examples:

Upon reading that I was to take one of my meds 3 times a day, I couldnít for the life of me figure how many times 3 goes into 24 to know how far apart to space doses.

Buying a dress for a x-mas present for my friendís baby who was born the June of the previous year I honestly couldnít figure out if she needed a size 12mo, 18mo, or 24moÖyea, thatís pitiful. I almost cried there in the store.

Answering my doctor about how much Keppra I take, I had to think for a second, and when nothing came, I blurted out 2,000mg/day, sure that I was right, but then a minute passed and I remember it was 1500mg/day. I didnít just mis-speak, there was real confusion. I felt soooo stupid and my doctor wrote furiously in my chart though he didnít say anything about it.

And I canít tell you how many times Iíve given a cashier the wrong amount of money. Not off by much, just like my brain wanders off for a second or two while counting.

But as I said earlier, other times Iím just fine. I know some of it is stress; the more it happens, the more I worry, and the worse it gets. But I really wonder if it is seizure related and if changing meds would helpÖor not.

It's not that big a deal, but it's kind of frustrating and even a bit scary; it makes me worry about my overall cognition. Has anyone experienced this? Any ideas? Any insight would be appreciated.
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Old 03-27-2011, 05:32 AM
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I was never wonderful with numbers (other than remember strings of long numbers: phone numbers, tax file number, Medicare number, etc), but now I'm completely hopeless. I can't calculate to save my life.

It's steadily gotten worse over the last couple of years (therefore preceding my E diagnosis and medication). Some days I can't even figure out how to work the calculator to do the job for me!

I used to be able to do simple maths in my head; these days, I say "I don't do numbers" and give a deadpan stare.

I don't know which part of the brain is responsible, sorry, but I've provided the info above to ensure that medication isn't blamed. If it's a seizure type, then I have that seizure around the clock. In my case, I suspect a permanent cognitive impairment.
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Old 03-27-2011, 09:53 AM
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IMO, part of the math problem is due to the damaged parietal lobe plus the side effects of Keppra. Some days my mind wanders off and I have trouble calculating and transpose numbers. My math skills have gone down the drain over the years, but I have a damaged hippocampus and suffer temporal lobe epilepsy.

Here is an interesting article I found about math skills and the parietal lobe:
from:
http://www.neuroskills.com/tbi/bparieta.shtml

Quote :
Damage to the left parietal lobe can result in what is called "Gerstmann's Syndrome." It includes right-left confusion, difficulty with writing (agraphia) and difficulty with mathematics (acalculia). It can also produce disorders of language (aphasia) and the inability to perceive objects normally (agnosia).

Damage to the right parietal lobe can result in neglecting part of the body or space (contralateral neglect), which can impair many self-care skills such as dressing and washing. Right side damage can also cause difficulty in making things (constructional apraxia), denial of deficits (anosagnosia) and drawing ability.
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Old 03-27-2011, 01:47 PM
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I'm not on any meds right now, and I have the same problem - and I once was a straight A honor student, even in calculus. A few weeks ago I had to do a 'long division' math problem for some reason, and I honestly froze midway because I couldn't remember the rules about carrying tens and all that. I gave up and got my calculator. I had a SPECT scan of my brain a couple of years ago, and it DID indicate 'reduced blood flow' to various areas of my brain - and my parietal lobe WAS one of the areas in question.

I also seem to have trouble...?...'categorizing' things? For example, I have a tough time figuring out which aisle at the grocery store potato chips are in. Reading the signs above the aisles never seems to 'click'.

Same thing when I drive...'no left turn', 'right turn only', 'no turn on red'...they just don't seem to 'click' and I sit there trying to figure if they affect me and if I'm about to break a law (back when I could drive, that is).

I think my temporal lobes are involved in my seizures though. The article below gives an excellent description of what to expect if your seizures originate in the temporal lobe. Scroll to 'Temporal Lobe Epilsepsy'. I have many of the symptoms...

Storm in the Brain:
http://www.memorylossonline.com/past...nthebrain.html
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Old 03-27-2011, 04:37 PM
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I gave up on simple math and use a calculator no matter what.just too hard to try and help a kindegartner and 3rd grader.if it wasnt for them I probably wouldnt realize how bad it is.Eventually it does come,not always right but its like the gears need to unrust in my head
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Old 03-27-2011, 10:46 PM
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I never knew if this was related to my E or just my mathematical ability. I can't do anything with numbers in my head. I must have pen & paper & calculator. My husb. is a numbers person and will create a labyrinth of conversation - all in numbers - as an answer to a simple question, and immediately my eyes glaze over. It's as if my brain simply turns off. Math was never my strongest subject, but seems like my inability in this area is getting worse. I always thought it was my meds. I blame everything on them!
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Old 03-27-2011, 11:42 PM
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Thank you all! Iím sorry others have the same or similar problems, but itís reassuring that Iím not the only one. All of your comments were helpful. The links were really interesting and both answered questions and brought up new ones.

The Gerstmannís Syndrome entry really caught my eye. Most of the symptoms donít fit aside from the acalculia, but I have noticed - for about the same amount of time that Iíve had the math thing - I often scramble letters when writing, usually when hand-writing rather that typing. Iíve just gotten used to it and hadnít really thought about it much recently.

Chel, you need to teach me that deadpan stare
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Old 03-28-2011, 03:58 AM
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Originally Posted by travel bug View Post:
I often scramble letters when writing, usually when hand-writing rather that typing.
I can type brilliantly when in a pre- or post-ictal state, but put a pen and paper in my hands, and I can't hand-write, can't spell, can't punctuate... I lose all those skills. I would be interested to know why there's a difference. I also can't talk properly on those days, and they are the days I work at home, to minimise my contact with work colleagues, and also so I don't drive.

Originally Posted by travel bug View Post:
Chel, you need to teach me that deadpan stare
Ahhh, it's a long-practised skill, you see. I've been working on it for 47 years *wink*
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