Neurology Now:
Department: the Waiting Room

The Moral of a Soap

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For 26 years, Emmy-winning actor Eric Braeden portrayed his character on “The Young and the Restless” so convincingly that CBS might as well have renamed the popular soap opera The Young and the Ruthless.

All that, however, changed recently along with the personality of the character, ruthless businessman Victor Newman. After being carjacked, Newman suddenly turned over control of his company to spend time charming his wife with dance lessons and doting on his grandchildren. Everyone chalked up his uncharacteristic behavior to a new appreciation for life–until his blackouts and hallucinations were finally diagnosed as temporal lobe seizures resulting from a head injury sustained in the carjacking.

The July episode spotlighting the diagnosis was followed by “CBS Cares” public service announcements that Braeden filmed in cooperation with the Epilepsy Foundation to raise awareness and to help viewers cope with the condition. The Epilepsy Foundation hopes the top-rated soap's continuing storyline will “help bring epilepsy out of the shadows.”

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©2006 American Academy of Neurology

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