There are some important rules for fighting in MMA with epilepsy. If you are suffering from epilepsy, the first thing that you need to know is that MMA fighters tend to have a smaller brain volume than non-fighters.
But if you are not afflicted by epilepsy, there are many ways that you can prepare your brain for the fight and be safe. Martial arts experience is a great way to hardwire your brain for MMA.
Let’s dive into the question and answer, can you fight in MMA with epilepsy?
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MMA fighters have lower brain volume than non-fighters
A recent study published in the Journal of Neuroscience found that MMA fighters have significantly smaller brain volume than non-fighters with epileptic seizures. Researchers looked at MRI data of 104 MMA fighters and 53 boxers. They compared the brain volume of the fighters’ different brain areas and found that MMA fighters had a larger loss of brain volume over time. The heavier fighters also showed higher yearly losses in cognitive performance, while the lighter fighters suffered a greater reduction of regional brain volume per fight.
MMA fighters who suffer from epilepsy may also be at a greater risk of developing this disorder. While epilepsy is often not fatal, it’s a serious condition that requires medical attention. Researchers say that repeated suffocation and transient asphyxiation may lead to long-term damage. Symptoms of hypoxic brain injury include memory loss, neurological problems, and cognitive decline.
The researchers say that a reduced brain volume in MMA fighters might be linked to an increased risk of epilepsy in this sport. MMA is the fastest growing combat sport in the world, but it also poses a risk of epilepsy. This risk is even higher for women. Because women are more likely to have epilepsy, there is also a higher risk of epilepsy for MMA fighters.
Researchers also found that retired boxers had lower brain volume than non-fighters with the condition. Researchers also noted that the current fighters’ brains lost more volume than non-fighters. The current fighters’ brains lost 145 cubic millimeters per year, while non-fighters gained 43 millimeters per year. The difference is not significant, but researchers suggest the findings could help identify neurodegenerative diseases in fighters.
In addition to epilepsy, the repeated blows to the head result in smaller brain volumes and slower processing speeds. These findings have been published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The study involved 224 professional fighters who were matched with 22 non-fighters without a history of epilepsy. The fighters ranged in age from 18 to 44. Half had only graduated from high school while half had some college education.
Physical exertion reduces epileptic seizure
Exercise has long been associated with decreased risk of epileptic seizures, but a few precautions should be taken. For instance, overexertion, dehydration, and hypoglycemia can lead to increased risk of seizures. Lack of sleep can trigger seizures. In addition, people with epilepsy should avoid exercising when they are overtired, and should eat before going out for a walk or running. People with epilepsy may also want to modify their home to reduce the risk of seizures. Some modifications include putting guards on radiators and covering low objects.
The researchers found that early voluntary physical activity could reduce the risk of epileptic seizure development in a genetic mouse model. The cohort dataset for this study is not publicly available. However, the authors of the study concluded that physical activity can delay the onset of seizures in SynIIKO mice. While running delayed seizure onset, most of the mice did not experience a spontaneous seizure during the provocation period.
Exercise has other benefits, including improved mood and energy, as well as relieving stress. The condition is often treated symptomatically, but it has been linked with other benefits, including improved overall health and a reduction in seizure frequency. Physical exercise has even been shown to improve psychological health, which is an important component for people with epilepsy. While the benefits of physical activity are widely recognized, these benefits should not be discounted.
Exercise may increase the threshold for seizures in humans. In a recent study, researchers from the University of Illinois and Northwestern University found that swimming exercise reduced epileptic activity in rats that had already had a seizure. Chemically induced seizures were also found to be delayed in onset and less severe in motor symptoms, suggesting that exercise increases the threshold for seizures in humans. A few other studies have suggested that physical exertion may have an effect on the epileptic threshold in humans.
Stress reduces epileptic seizure
While anticonvulsant medications have been proven to significantly reduce seizure frequency and severity, it is still not known whether stress itself can prevent seizures. Although stress is associated with a primitive “flight or fight” instinct, it is important to remember that this reaction is intended to provide a quick response to challenging situations. But if the situation is too complex, too many stressors can increase the body’s reaction to stress.
It is not clear whether martial arts training prevents epileptic seizures. Studies on the subject have shown that patients who train in martial arts show lower rates of depression. These results may also depend on the type of epilepsy and the amount of stress they are under. But the bottom line is that a patient can safely participate in martial arts if the attacks are rare. If it is, however, a patient should seek medical attention to ensure that the condition does not interfere with the martial art.
People who have seizures have a severely subluxated upper cervical spine and an overstressed sympathetic nervous system. These conditions can cause seizures, as these patients are unable to cope with stress. Moreover, if stress reduces seizure frequency, it may reduce the risk of future seizures. It is important to note that this research is based on a limited study. Although it is early to make definitive conclusions, the findings are encouraging.
Paige, an 11-year-old with severe seizures, is now experiencing more than just a few episodes. Several of these episodes are non-epileptic. Her mother took her to a hospital for more tests and finally a neurologist confirmed that Paige had NEAD. Although she has only been dealing with her condition for a month, the family is hoping she will grow out of it.
MMA organizations with epilepsy must carry insurance
In order for individuals to compete in professional mixed martial arts (MMA), they must undergo pre-licensure jurisdiction-governed examinations. As part of these examinations, participants must disclose all medical conditions and medical history, which is essential for both the player’s safety and the liability of the MMA organization. Epilepsy poses a unique risk for athletes due to the possibility of traumatic brain injury, which can trigger seizures. Individuals with epilepsy must carry insurance that covers medical costs in case they suffer a seizure.