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just what the doctor ordered "It's not a cancer, it's not a malignancy but boy, can it ruin lives!" This is Beaumont Hospital neurosurgeon Mr Donncha O'Brien and he's talking about epilepsy.

Epilepsy is a strange and disturbing condition, much misunderstood, that does strange and disturbing things inside a sufferer's head. I've got a friend who has epilepsy. He told me that during the onset of his first seizure, out of the blue when he was 27, he thought he was going insane. In olden days, epileptics were burned as witches. The malicious ignoramuses of today automatically and wrongly associate epilepsy with mental illness or disability. Epilepsy is beginning to ruin the life of Deirdre Anne (31). Hospital footage showed her having a partial seizure. She slips into a twilight state between consciousness and unconsciousness. The drugs don't work any more so now she's going to have a brain operation. "I've been putting this off for years," she says. You can't blame her. Mr O'Brien is going to drill a hole in her head and cut out a small piece of her brain called the hippocampus, which he believes is where her seizures emanate from. The last time Deirdre Anne had a grand mal seizure (the one where you suffer violent convulsions) she was left temporarily paralysed on her left side. Before he operates, Mr O'Brien is burberry shop near me going to deliberately paralyse one side of Deirdre Anne's brain, just to check she'll be able to function without her hippocampus. It's a high risk test, frightening and fascinating. Another of Mr O'Brien's patients, a mentally disabled girl called Carey Ann, is on a cocktail of drugs which makes her sleepy and listless. Her quality of life is hurtling towards nil. Her parents lovely, loving people want something better for her, so Mr O'Brien implants a nerve stimulator in Carey Ann's chest which will send electronic pulses to her brain. After the procedure, Carey Ann's daily diet burberry spring sale of drugs has been reduced by half. Deirdre Anne is burberry plaid not so lucky. She's still having full seizures. Mr O'Brien's neurosurgery colleague, Prof Ciaran Bolger, is angry and outspoken and he damns the HSE. He keeps a burberry mens bags outlet kind of league table of patients on the surgery waiting list on his wall. The patients on red cards are deemed "urgent". But because of the catastrophe that is our health service, "urgent" can mean a wait of a year or more unless they become so dangerously ill they qualify as an emergency. Medical programmes usually give me the collywobbles but Surgeons is an outstanding series, both as a human interest story and social documentary. I hope Minister Harney is watching it through her fingers as she melts into a puddle of shame. In 1995, Jane Treays made a documentary called Painted Babies, which looked at hideous American child beauty pageants, where heavily made up tiny tots in inappropriate clothes perform provocative dance routines for prizes.

It was shocking and revolting. In Painted Babies Growing Up, Treays caught up with Brooke and Asia, the two five year olds profiled in the first film. Both are now 17.


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