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Childhood Epilepsy

Rhythm of breathing influences emotional judgments and memory recall

Northwestern Medicine scientists have discovered for the first time that the rhythm of breathing creates electrical activity in the human brain that enhances emotional judgments and memory recall. These effects on behavior depend critically on whether you inhale or exhale and whether you breathe through the nose or mouth.

Symptom trends may help predict recovery of patients suffering from post-concussion syndrome

Researchers at the Krembil Neuroscience Centre’s (KNC) Canadian Concussion Centre (CCC) have identified symptom trends that may not only help predict how soon patients suffering from post-concussion syndrome (PCS) will recover, but also provide insight on how to treat those who experience persistent concussion symptoms.

Comorbidities Common Even in Newly Diagnosed Epilepsy

Co-morbidities in a Hong Kong Cohort People with epilepsy have a higher prevalence of psychiatric and medical comorbid conditions than the general population. Now a recent review of patients with newly diagnosed and treated epilepsy admitted to Hong Kong hospitals has revealed that even patients without a long history of epilepsy have increased morbidity and mortality.

Sodium channel gene takes diverging paths in autism, epilepsy

Mutations in a gene called SCN2A have opposite effects in autism and in epilepsy. The divergence makes the gene an attractive candidate for research, suggest unpublished results presented today at the 2016 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.

Maternal linked to childhood epilepsy

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease whereby the body’s own immune system attacks the joints. New research suggests there may be a link between mothers with the autoimmune disorder and their children who develop epilepsy.

Research Informs Treatment for Some Genetic Epilepsy Patients

The study of human genetics has often focused on mutations that cause disease. When it comes to genetic variations in healthy people, scientists knew they were out there, but didn’t have a full picture of their extent. That is changing with the emergence of resources such as the Exome Aggregation Consortium or ExAC, which combines sequences for the protein-coding parts of the genome from more than 60,000 people into a database that continues to expand.

Researchers discover a new stage of the development cycle of the human brain

Researchers discover mass migration of inhibitory neurons into the brain’s frontal cortex after birth Researchers at UC San Francisco have discovered a previously unknown mass migration of inhibitory neurons into the brain’s frontal cortex during the first few months after birth, revealing a stage of brain development that had previously gone unrecognized. The authors hypothesize that this late-stage migration may play a role in establishing fundamentally human cognitive abilities and that its disruption could underlie a number of neurodevelopmental diseases. Most neurons of the cerebral cortex – the outermost layer of the brain responsible for advanced cognition – migrate outward from their birthplaces deep in the brain to take up their positions within the cortex....

UAB researchers launch first drug study to prevent onset of epilepsy in children with TSC

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have launched the first drug study aimed at preventing or delaying the onset of epilepsy in children with a genetic condition known as tuberous sclerosis complex. UAB is the lead institution and data center for the PREVeNT study, a national, multisite study funded by a $7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. Tuberous sclerosis complex is a genetic disorder that causes tumors to form in many different organs. TSC particularly affects neurologic functions, often leading to seizures, developmental delay, intellectual disability and autism. About 80 percent of children with TSC develop epilepsy within the first three years of life.

New approach bolsters protein in blood vessels to protect against cerebral malaria

Boosting a protective protein to stabilize blood vessels weakened by malaria showed improved survival beyond that of antimalarial drugs alone in pre-clinical research. Toronto General Research Institute (TGRI) and the Sandra Rotman Centre for Global Health, University of Toronto and University Health Network researchers describe in Science Translational Medicine, 28 September 2016 how their approach bolsters the body’s own capabilities to protect itself against cerebral malaria, rather than solely targeting the malaria parasites in the blood. Over 400,000 lives are lost each year to severe and cerebral malaria, mainly among children in sub-Saharan Africa. For children surviving cerebral malaria, up to one-third may develop long-term neurological injury including epilepsy, behavioural...

Researchers propose new explanation for symptoms of fragile X syndrome

  Until recently, scientists thought they understood one of the underlying causes of fragile X syndrome, the most common inherited cause of intellectual disability in the United States. The syndrome, which is associated with autism, was believed to be linked primarily to overactivity in a molecular pathway in the brain. But then, in 2014, two large-scale, multinational clinical trials aimed at treating fragile X by inhibiting that pathway failed.

Researchers exploit gene discovery in severe epilepsy to identify precision treatment

An international team of researchers who discovered a new gene disorder that causes severe childhood epilepsy leveraged that finding to reduce seizures in two children. The collaborators’ case report reflects the potential of precision medicine–applying basic science knowledge to individualize treatment to a patient’s unique genetic profile. “After discovering the disease-causing mutation in two children, we were able to apply basic science research to understand exactly how the DNA change impairs cellular functions,” said study leader Marni J. Falk, MD, a clinical geneticist and director of the Mitochondrial Disease Clinical Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). “We were fortunate to be able to translate those biological insigh...

Study shows continuous electrical stimulation suppresses seizures in patients with epilepsy

When surgery and medication don’t help people with epilepsy, electrical stimulation of the brain has been a treatment of last resort. Unfortunately, typical approaches, such as vagal nerve stimulation or responsive nerve stimulation, rarely stop seizures altogether. But a new Mayo Clinic study in JAMA Neurology shows that seizures were suppressed in patients treated with continuous electrical stimulation. Epilepsy is a central nervous system disorder in which nerve cell activity in the brain becomes disrupted. In the study, 13 patients with drug-resistant epilepsy were deemed unsuitable for resective surgery, which removes a portion of the brain — usually about the size of a golf ball — that was causing seizures. When patients are evaluated for surgery, a grid of electrical contacts ...

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