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Does samba and epileptic seizure have anything in common?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.


Well-Known Member
Dec 1, 2002
I showed Erik's BO (the link is in the thread "The worst static blackout ever seen" http://forums.deeperblue.net/showthread.php?threadid=42793&perpage=15&pagenumber=1 )
to one of my friends who studies medicine. He commented, that Erik looked like a person during an epileptic seizure.
This comparison never came into my mind and I've realized how little I know about the processes in the brain shortly before syncope.
Do the samba shakes really have anything in common with epileptic shakes? Or they just look similary?
I don't know much about what's going on in the brain during samba, except that the cause for this process is low oxygen.
Therefore any clarification (or links to some helpful texts) would be very welcome.
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What do they have in common ?

Both are what's happening in dance clubs ?
both are a "myoclonic episode" so yes they do have something in common - look that up on a medical site and you may find more

thanks for your hint Sam.
so here is what I found out about this topic.

"Normal brain function requires an orderly, organized, coordinated discharge of electrical impulses. Electrical impulses enable the brain to communicate with the spinal cord, nerves, and muscles as well as within itself. When electrical impulses discharge abnormally, a seizure may occur."

this abnormal discharging (seizure) can have more causes. injury, certain drugs, emotional stress, sleep deprivation, infections, fever, low levels of oxygen in the blood, or very low levels of sugar in the blood--can trigger a seizure. seizures with clear cause and not repeating are called provoked seizures (samba falls in this category).
chronic seizures with not so clear cause are called epilepsy.

the similarity between epileptic seizures and provoked seizures leads in some cases to misdiagnose of anoxic seizures (anoxic seizures are nonepileptic events consequent upon abrupt interruption of the energy supply to metabolically active cerebral neurones) as epilepsy. this happens for example in young children suffering from so called breath holding spell (there are two kinds of them: pallid and cyanotic breath-holding spells, pallid breath-holding spells result from exuberant vagally-mediated cardiac inhibition. cyanotic breath-holding spells are of more complex pathogenesis, involving an interplay among hyperventilation, Valsalva maneuver, expiratory apnea, and intrinsic pulmonary mechanisms).

that's what I've found out for now.
for more detailed description of what's going on in brain during an anoxic seizure I have to dig deeper.
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I have done extensive research on anoxic seizures. They are very similar to epileptic seizures.

In particular, scientists discovered that if an animal had a anoxic seizure lasting for more than 5 seconds, then the animal's susceptibility to anoxic seizures was increased for at least a month.

However, extreme hypoxia (without a seizure), resulted in increased tolerance against anoxic/hypoxic seizures.

Hypoxia/anoxia, with a seizure of 0-5 seconds in duration, had neither a positive nor negative effect on susceptibility to seizures.

In a study done on humans, they found that when humans are 'blacked out' by occlusion of carotid arteries, 90% suffer seizures as they black out and re-awaken. 10% do not suffer seizures, but lose consciousness without 'myoclonic episode.'

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
Dostoevsky wrote both about his own and The Idiot Prince Myshkins' epilepsy and in particular the moments just prior to a seizure. He described those moments as at first a vague, but undeniable feeling of premonition of what was to come, a feeling that would build in it's intensity, culminating in a brief instant of such awesome and profound ecstasy that one would, if offered the deal, gladly trade the rest of their life just for that brief example of bliss. :cool:
The ecstasy would then be obliterated by the seizure.

Anybody here who has had a samba ever recall experiencing a strange feeling of pleasure just before the samba?


I experienced a mild samba once on the surface after a prolonged dive just after I took my first breath. On the ascent I felt my legs lock a little and on the surface after breathing again I lost feeling of my entire body although my legs were still moving. I was semi-concious and only felt myself floating. It felt great. I would describe the emotion as feeling really comfortable and half asleep without a care in the world (I lost my speargun to a fish in that dive).

About Fyodor I think he overdramatized it a little. I just got through asking my landlord who is an epileptic about his feelings concerning "premonition". He said that he can feel it coming on when he is unable to focus his thoughts and loses ability to follow a conversation or make coherent argument, 30 min prior to the seizure. He describes it as feeling himself "shut down" and gradually losing control. This makes him feel anxiety and apprehensive of what is to come. He loses memory just before the seizure and remains partially unconcious up to 6 hours.

I think Dostoyevsky glorified his epilepsy as an excuse to his publishers (and to himself), because it greatly affected his being able to meet their quotas.
This is called an 'aura'. Many people experiences 'auras' before their epileptic seizures. Generally an aura is some strange feeling which consistently occurs before a seizure.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
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