A high level of ammonia in the blood is highly toxic to the brain in both humans and animals. Seizures are one symptom of ammonia toxicity. Excessive ammonia in the bloodstream occurs when the liver is unable to turn it into urea so that it can be eliminated from the body as urine.
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Urea Cycle Disorder
One cause of ammonia toxicity is urea cycle disorder. This is an inherited metabolic condition in which the body lacks the enzymes to process protein into urea, thus creating excess ammonia. The ammonia travels to the brain via the blood where it damages brain cells. Seizures are one of the many symptoms of the disorder.
This condition presents in both humans and animals. It is a neurological syndrome caused by a liver disorder. One of its triggers in humans is eating too much protein. When the liver does not process protein properly, ammonia accumulates and travels to the brain via the bloodstream. Seizures are symptomatic of severe hepatic encephalopathy in both humans and animals, although they are not the most common symptom.
There is also a link between treatment of seizures and ammonia. A study by neurologists at the University of Ankara shows that valproic acid, an anti-epilepsy medication that prevents seizures, causes the body to retain excess ammonia, triggering side effects including mental confusion, lack of physical coordination and nausea in some epileptics.
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