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Old 09-21-2012, 04:19 PM
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Question Exploring the Gut-Brain Connection and Photosensitivity


I've been participating in this great forum on a couple other threads regarding gut origin of seizure where neurology currently treats the disorder from the neck up. I've been trying to heal our dog's seizure cluster disorder of intestinal origin for the past 4 years. She passed by accident last week tragically due to a seizure triggered by morning sunlight, drowning in our pool. I had left her alone barely a minute and then thought she got out the back fence, so searched the neighborhood instead of realizing she might be under the pool cover seizing. Oh, the grief. She was making such fantastic strides based on healing her gut. I'd like to believe she would have been seizure-free eventually, but I know it was still an uphill battle. Based on gut therapy, horrific clusters seemed to be a thing of the past as I was able to halt what would have been 3 day clusters after just one seizure, monumental akin to stopping a freight train. It's been rough, though I can't imagine having a child with the problem; my heart goes out to everyone here. My dog inspired a life of work and learning. I'll soon submit a case report to the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association Journal sounding the alarm about gut origin of seizure. Huge thanks go out to Robin, Bernard and Eric for participating in these two threads where I've shared info about gut origin of seizure:
http://www.coping-with-epilepsy.com/...83/index5.html
http://www.coping-with-epilepsy.com/...15/index4.html

Our dog suffered several photosensitive seizures, especially in the morning. Her gut was also more vulnerable in early morning hours. She was susceptible to both flickering light through trees and direct sunlight, but not when the sun was overhead in the afternoon. Now how is this related to intestinal imbalance also known as gut dysbiosis? I've been exploring the issue related to histamine excess and the lining of the small intestine here on my facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...2&l=356b699e6d

Basically, the gut-brain connection is a two-way street. Brain can affect gut via stress and the gut can affect the brain on its own (that's the real underdiagnosed issue in the field of epilepsy including, I believe, the excruciating problem of Infantile Spasm).

One mechanism involves excess histamine, something microbes can make themselves, but also regulate production from mast cells in the gut. They may also be doing this to regulate mucin (mucus) generated by goblet cells. As my facebook exploration points out, there is a deficiency in DAO enzyme needed to break down histamine and ways to help including vitamin C, glucosamine sulfate and others including propolis used carefully. These things are known to help with migraines; perhaps they also apply to epilepsy. Healing/balancing the gut is more art than science these days. Here's a new article with a section about the two-way street. I've been learning about how the gut affects the brain, finally delving more into how the brain affects the gut, something much more commonly understood by neurology. The fact is the brain can affect the gut which then exacerbates problems in the brain, or the gut can do this on its own. http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/09/gut-feeling.aspx

Now here's the connection to light as trigger: optic neuritis which is nerve inflammation caused by excess histamine. Isn't it interesting people with epilepsy need to be very careful in using antihistamines? One natural antihistamine I believe was really helping our dog is also a very powerful natural antibiotic: bee propolis. She had been on a month of an antibiotic called Rifaximin which works only in the gut. This allowed her to withstand large doses of probiotcs to recolonize when previously small doses caused seizure. Propolis seemed to be the final piece of the puzzle as it can normalize an imbalanced gut where pharmaceutical antibiotics fail, i.e., spore-forming clostridium bacteria. It remains to be known if some crucial types of beneficial flora can ever be recolonized (some children may be born imbalanced) such as the anaerobic bacteria and archaea. There are lots of implications including antibiotic abuse, routine vaccination and poor sanitation as causes of gut dysbiosis.

Here are some interesting associated links:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9950609 (this paper discusses histamine function in the morning in eyes)
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1073153/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20803970
http://www.coping-with-epilepsy.com/...pilepsy-14646/
http://physrev.physiology.org/content/88/3/1183.full

Note: ultraviolet light (UV) is also known to affect microbes directly, especially yeast, another exploration connected with neurodegenerative disorders such as geographic distribution of multiple sclerosis.

Today happens to be International Day of Peace and I wish peace to everyone here . . . no stress wherever its origin.

Keith

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Old 09-21-2012, 04:44 PM
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First I want to send my sympathies on the loss of your beloved pet.

I am blown away by your research on the connection of brain/gut disorders. When I began this journey with Rebecca, there was not much info available. I had to hang out in the autistic forums. You have helped bring this information to another spectrum of individuals, and we are indebted to you for doing so. It at least begins the conversation and opens up the questions to find answers for many.

Though my daughter did not have early morning seizures, I have read about many that do. Your info on this is quite interesting.

I am going to be studying the links you posted.
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Old 09-21-2012, 05:18 PM
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Very kind of everyone. I wouldn't have known to do this research about stress and histamine the past couple days without feeling it myself. I actually had a bad dream the night before last and woke up with my head spinning and had to throw-up! The dream was about my dog seizing and it was felt so intimately as to affect my gut! Still getting over the vertigo and hope to balance soon. Good thing I believe in blessings in disguise . . . symptoms lead us to solutions!
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Old 09-22-2012, 02:53 AM
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A couple quick addendums:

Some studies note increased sun-induced seizures during winter months. This is consistent with lower sun angle during morning.

Photosensitive seizure is also said to be affected by alcohol according to Wikipedia: "Sensitivity is increased by alcohol consumption, sleep deprivation, illness, and other forms of stress."

Here's a very interesting paper about alcohol's fierce relationship to histamine. Alcohol elevates histamine in a number of ways:
http://alcalc.oxfordjournals.org/con...2/141.abstract

Alcoholism and epilepsy are linked, but the mechanism isn't understood:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/1...800.x/abstract
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1312739/

One page on the internet states: "Approximately 5 to 15% of the alcoholic persons experience convulsions and more than 20% of adults with diagnosis of Epilepsy only seize under ethanol influence. Alcoholism increases in a 300% the risk of seizing or convulsing." http://webcache.googleusercontent.co...ient=firefox-a

Last edited by Keith; 09-22-2012 at 05:03 PM.
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Old 09-22-2012, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Keith View Post:
...
Some studies note increased sun-induced seizures during winter months. This is consistent with lower sun angle during morning.
...
Winter is also associated with less time in the sun and thus, less vitamin d which can be problematic - especially for people who are taking an anti-epileptic drug which depletes the body of same.
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Old 09-22-2012, 09:16 AM
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Oh wow, that reminds me of when I was a lifeguard when I was around 20 -- at a summer camp. One of the teen campers told me she was allergic to the sun, and I was just thinking she would get a rash or something, and didn't think much about it.

Well, it turns out she had epilepsy, and rarely had seizures, but bright sunlight would trigger a seizure. And of course she was out holding on to the high dock -- in about 15 feet of dark lake water when she went into a seizure.

So then, we had to pull a 140 pound girl from the lake bottom to the surface, and her heart had stopped, so had to do CPR and mouth to mouth, and that got tricky, because as she started coming to, she began vomiting and went back into the seizure.

By that time, the local rescue squad had arrived and were trying to keep an oxygen mask on her, and trying to hold her down, when she was in full clonic, and I was telling them just to put her on her side and not hold her down -- just try to keep the mask on.

Anyway, all quite traumatic, but she survived, thank God with no brain damage.
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Old 09-22-2012, 05:12 PM
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Karen, what a rough story, but thanks for sharing it.

Originally Posted by Bernard View Post:
Winter is also associated with less time in the sun and thus, less vitamin d which can be problematic - especially for people who are taking an anti-epileptic drug which depletes the body of same.
Bernard, that does seem a factor, however, vitamin D experts such as Dr. Michael Holick, generally believe deficiency is about diet and sunshine, in disregard of recent science showing receptors altered by gut flora. Here's what I believe is a landmark study:
http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/news/s...ex.cfm?id=2923

Also, zinc deficiency plays an important role as a zinc molecule is required at the base of the vitamin D receptor. Boron deficiency is another factor as boron somehow regulates vitamin D.

Last edited by Keith; 09-22-2012 at 05:15 PM.
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:50 PM
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Another thought about vitamin D relates to the prevalence of osteoporosis in epilepsy, usually attributed to drug treatment. "Fracture rates in epilepsy are two to three times that for the general population"
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16971186

Osteoporosis is strongly associated with intestinal malabsorption. Bone density issues are known in autism, Celiac and inflammatory bowel disease.
http://www.nichd.nih.gov/news/releas...ism_012908.cfm
http://www.uptodate.com/contents/met...-bowel-disease
http://www.healthcanal.com/bones-mus...sity-kids.html

One mechanism may be about relationship of epilepsy to acidosis, a low oxygen, high acid metabolic disorder where the body buffers pH via calcium drawn from bones and even teeth. Perhaps acidosis is a protective mechanism as it's also related to stopping seizure:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2673408/
http://gradworks.umi.com/33/81/3381440.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8163754
http://www.coping-with-epilepsy.com/...eizures-11624/

FYI, calcium and vitamin D supplementation is controversial science:
http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/p...s-201206274921

My point is vitamin D deficiency isn't about sunlight or even diet, but intestinal nutrient malabsorption, meaning it's not what you eat, but what you can absorb. Malabsorption leads to bone density problems associated with metabolic issues including epilepsy and cognitive issues such as autism and Alzheimer's. http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/...101100727.html
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Old 09-23-2012, 11:02 PM
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Back to light as trigger, I believe I've read cloudy days can be a trigger, but can't find the study at the moment. Interestingly, UV is actually stronger on cloudy days:
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/...on-cloudy-days

Apparently, UV can induce optic neuritis which I associated with histamine earlier as cause of photosensitive seizure where excess histamine is of gut origin:
http://rheumatology.oxfordjournals.o.../12/1296.short

Another factor is microbes are light sensitive. I've done a bit of research and found information regarding UV effect on yeast, increasing activity and the full moon also has this effect:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/...68N37T20100924

But UV as trigger via inflamed optic nerve due to excess histamine is intriguing. Optic neuritis is associated with seizure.

Thanks for everyone's patience in reading; I know I sound like a broken record coming back to the gut as origin of seizure activity, but it's overlooked and underdiagnosed.

Last edited by Keith; 09-23-2012 at 11:05 PM.
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Old 09-23-2012, 11:11 PM
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I love the information that you are supplying. Once when my migraines were out of control, I only found relief with pharmaceuticals, I ended up at the doctors. She gave me an anti-nausea medication and for many months that kept my migraine on the back burner. No other doctors recommended it so I was back to conventional migraine meds.
Then along came the suggestion of magnesium and life turned around for me. I think I am about 8 yrs migraine free. I am losing track of the years which I guess is a good thing.
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:59 AM
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Question Exploring the Gut-Brain Connection


Thanks, Robin, you're the reason I'm here after reading your posts trying to find answers. It's great people can find their way to this forum through Google. Did you know about the relationship of magnesium to histamine? I learned about it in the past few days; magnesium lowers histamine.

One apparently overlooked mechanism: "Low stomach acid levels reduce levels of beneficial intestinal bacteria which is needed for absorption of magnesium." Dietary fiber and prebiotics (FOS) are known to increase magnesium absorption; I'm not sure which particular microbial species affected by prebiotics are known to be the reason for increased magnesium absorption, but they're probably gram positive.
http://allergiessos.blogspot.com/201...mentation.html
jn.nutrition.org/content/110/5/851.full.pdf
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3111814

According to this study, the gram negative bacteria reabsorb (steal?) magnesium better than gram positive bacteria. Gram negative bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, SIBO, is associated with alcoholism via lowered stomach acid, allowing overgrowth. This is why there is warning about the long term use of proton pump inhibitors such as Prilosec causing gut imbalances including C.diff where chronic imbalance includes gram positive bacteria while their spores are gram negative.
http://mic.sgmjournals.org/content/43/3/401.abstract

Here's a 2010 paper on gram-negative bacteria (bacilli) overgrowth in SIBO:
http://www.archivesofpathology.org/d...2165-134.2.264

There's a fairly new OTC here in the USA called Histame that's apparently the DAO enzyme which breaks down histamine. I think it's derived from pigs. Wonder if it's being applied to migraine and seizure disorders and things like diabetic retinopathy, optic neuritis and MS, all associated with seizure.
http://histame.com/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20803970
http://www.hindawi.com/journals/edr/2007/043603/abs/
www.iovs.org/content/29/8/1201.full.pdf
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2918844

There's a lot research about diabetes and histamine. Also, several papers about epilepsy and histamine, probably old news to many people here. The difference is these studies don't take into account gut origin of excess histamine, it's all about the brain:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...91305701004749
http://adisonline.com/cnsdrugs/Abstr...for_the.2.aspx

Serotonin, like histamine is another neurotransmitter studied. Most doctors are unaware 95% of the body's serotonin is producted in the gut, not the brain. With histamine, research shows seizure is controlled when receptors are active. Perhaps this is similar in the gut with things like serotonin and estrogen when damage to the intestinal lining means receptors are unable to recycle these things leading to excess/excitation along with other symptoms of disease. Interestingly, estrogen is said to release histamine where high estrogen is associated with low cortisol, a recipe for stress. Most folks believe high cortisol is the problem, but the opposite is the truth:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21971152

Last edited by Keith; 09-24-2012 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:04 PM
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Keith, I think you might have something there about malabsorbtion. I've been exploring this topic, especially since Jon's recent loss of seizure control (after being seizure free for 11 months) followed a bad stomach virus (which we all got, but he had diarrhea for about 2 weeks, when the rest of us recovered in about 3 days).

Since then, he has had intermittent diarrhea -- usually about 3 or 4 days each week.

I'm wondering if his gut flora didn't get messed up, and if chronic inflammation isn't interfering with absorbtion.

I found several studies linking bowel inflammation conditions like Chrohns and Colitis and Celiac to seizures -- and I believe absorbtion is an issue in all of them.

Based on that line of thinking, I discussed with our Nutritionist yesterday the possibility of adding in probiotics -- with the theory that better gut health may lead to better absorbtion (not to mention better health overall). He basically sniffed at the idea, and didn't think it would be particularly helpful, and refused to prescribe any. However, I believe I can purchase it over the counter -- am going to investigate that today -- my philosophy is...it certainly can't hurt, and it might help, so why not give it a try? Especially since our Neurologist announced yesterday that we're at a dead end with the meds.

The one thing our Nutritionist did recommend, and we added this in 2 weeks ago, and have received some good results, is MCT (medium chain tryglycerides) oil, which is absorbed a different way than other fats, and thus is beneficial for the Keto diet, but I think is also helpful for people with absorbtion issues.
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:09 PM
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Regarding magnesium -- I also mentioned this to our Nutritionist, and he sniffed at that as well, but when I went across the hall and told our Neurologist, he said, "Well of course!! I've prescribed it for migraines for years!"
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Old 09-25-2012, 12:26 AM
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Karen, yes you can buy it over the counter. No need to run this past a doctor for approval. The one I use is Natren Healthy Trinity. The one prescribed by a gastroenterologist was one/third of the healthy bacteria that Natren has. I chose to pay out of pocket for it.

Magnesium also doesn't need a script. Nice when they are on board, but it is a necessary mineral, and it can't hurt. Why not try ionic magnesium. It doesn't have to go through the intestinal tract, thus no worries about GI distress. It is absorbed under the tongue, directly into the cells.
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Old 09-25-2012, 02:08 AM
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I had already bought Chelated Magnesium -- that was what was available at my local pharmacy.

I'm going to try to get down to the pharmacy today (the streets are a bit flooded right now, so waiting for the storm to pass over) and see if they carry probiotics. If not, I think the pharmacist will order it.

The reason I wanted the Nutritionist to order it, is I need to get a formula that's low in carbs. But I think the Pharmacist can help with that as well.
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Old 09-25-2012, 02:18 AM
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OK, I just looked, and the product you mentioned only has sunflower oil, gelatin, and tocopherols as inactive ingredients - so should be ok with carbs. Just not sure if it's carried here or not.

Last edited by KarenB; 09-25-2012 at 02:21 AM.
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:43 PM
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Here's some research about how the gut affects eyes, i.e., colitis/IBD causing optic neuritis (inflamed optic nerve):
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11283786
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6233306
http://sciencelinks.jp/j-east/articl...04A0792318.php
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10572434
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/1...000-00012/full

Anterior uveitis, swelling of the middle layer of the eye, is associated with optic neuritis.

Please note: people have gut problems without any gastrointestinal symptoms. In fact, intestinal problems often present in ways other than gastrointestinal. This is probably why there hasn't been much focus on the gut in epilepsy, but there appear to be many people solving the equation, i.e., they have ulcerative colitis and epilepsy and they see the connection.

It's also interesting that epilepsy is associated with cataracts:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20465442
As with other issues, science points a finger at drugs and the brain:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0126223607.htm
And here's association of cataracts with Celiac disease (where seizure is a symptom):
http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/conten...wr069.abstract

Lastly for now, here's a connection in autism where the worst forms have a 40% epilepsy rate. Autism and IBD are now strongly associated. I firmly believe autism is of gut origin. This 2010 paper states optic neuropathy (damage to optic nerve) in autism is due to vitamin B12 deficient diets. B12 deficiency is known to cause optic nerve damage. What's not understood is it's not what you eat, but what you can absorb. High gastric acid is required for B12 absorption. GERD (acid reflux) is a common denominator of all disease, both physical and mental illness, caused by low stomach acid.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20855389

Last edited by Keith; 09-25-2012 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:43 PM
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Here's some research about how the gut affects eyes, i.e., colitis/IBD causing optic neuritis (inflamed optic nerve):
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11283786
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6233306
http://sciencelinks.jp/j-east/articl...04A0792318.php
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10572434
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/1...000-00012/full

Anterior uveitis, swelling of the middle layer of the eye, is associated with optic neuritis.

Please note: people have gut problems without any gastrointestinal symptoms. In fact, intestinal problems often present in ways other than gastrointestinal. This is probably why there hasn't been much focus on the gut in epilepsy, but there appear to be many people solving the equation, i.e., they have ulcerative colitis and epilepsy and they see the connection.

It's also interesting that epilepsy is associated with cataracts:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20465442
As with other issues, science points a finger at drugs and the brain:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0126223607.htm
And here's association of cataracts with Celiac disease (where seizure is a symptom):
http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/conten...wr069.abstract

Lastly for now, here's a connection in autism where the worst forms have a 40% epilepsy rate. Autism and IBD are now strongly associated. I firmly believe autism is of gut origin. This 2010 paper states optic neuropathy (damage to optic nerve) in autism is due to vitamin B12 deficient diets. B12 deficiency is known to cause optic nerve damage. What's not understood is it's not what you eat, but what you can absorb. High gastric acid is required for B12 absorption. GERD (acid reflux) is a common denominator of all disease, both physical and mental illness, caused by low stomach acid.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20855389
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:05 PM
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Here's a paper showing UV can induce optic neuritis given a health condition such as lupus associated with epilepsy:
http://rheumatology.oxfordjournals.o...8/12/1296.full
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Keith View Post:
Here's a paper showing UV can induce optic neuritis given a health condition such as lupus associated with epilepsy:
http://rheumatology.oxfordjournals.o...8/12/1296.full
The science of optogenetics:
http://singularityhub.com/2011/06/15...h-light-video/

Macular degeneration and seizure:
http://www.myvisiontest.com/newsarchive.php?id=1145
https://www.orpha.net/data/patho/GB/...amyoclonus.pdf

Macular degeneration as caused by intestinal malabsorption:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2600549/
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