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Epilepsy

Star-shaped brain cells orchestrate neural connections

Brains are made of more than a tangled net of neurons. Star-like cells called astrocytes diligently fill in the gaps between neural nets, each wrapping itself around thousands of neuronal connections called synapses. This arrangement gives each individual astrocyte an intricate, sponge-like structure.   New research from Duke University finds that astrocytes are much more than neurons’ entourage. Their unique architecture is also extremely important for regulating the development and function of synapses in the brain.   When they don’t work right, astrocyte dysfunction may underlie neuronal problems observed in devastating diseases like autism, schizophrenia and epilepsy.

New study hopes to shed light on mechanism behind epileptic and non-epileptic seizures

Seizures are a common result of traumatic brain injury, especially in military veterans. A new study funded by the DOD, Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, and conducted in Providence RI and Birmingham AL (at the Veterans Affairs Medical Centers in Providence, RI and Birmingham, AL, Rhode Island Hospital, Brown University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham) hopes to shed new light on the mechanism behind seizures associated with post-traumatic epilepsy and psychogenic nonepileptic seizures.   The $3.6 million award, W81XWH-17-1-0619 will examine whether a form of cognitive behavior therapy, a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy approach to problem-solving, could be effective in reducing the frequency and/or severity of seizures in those with TBI. Cognitive...

How to deal with epilepsy

Epilepsy is a condition where the nerve cell activity in the brain is disturbed.  Epilepsy is a disorder in which nerve cell activity in the brain is disturbed, causing seizures or periods of unusual behavior, sensations and sometimes loss of consciousness.  People with epilepsy behave differently. Some simply stare blankly for a few seconds during a seizure, while others repeatedly twitch their arms or legs.  You need to have two unprovoked seizures to be diagnosed with epilepsy. All seizures need to be treated because they can be dangerous during activities such as driving or swimming.

Funnel web spiders’ ‘beautiful molecules’ show promise for treating epilepsy, stroke

Several new Australian-developed medicines showing promise treating childhood epilepsy, stroke and autoimmune diseases have emerged from an unusual source: the fangs of venomous creatures. Big pharmaceutical companies are excited by results showing these new venom-drugs are often superior to man-made drugs, and they are starting to pour money into research.

A dietary supplement dampens the brain hyperexcitability seen in seizures or epilepsy

Seizure disorders — including epilepsy — are associated with pathological hyperexcitability in brain neurons. Unfortunately, there are limited available treatments that can prevent this hyperexcitability. However, University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers have found that inducing a biochemical alteration in brain proteins via the dietary supplement glucosamine was able to rapidly dampen that pathological hyperexcitability in rat and mouse models. These results, seen in animal models, represent a potentially novel therapeutic target for the treatment of seizure disorders.

Lack of CLOCK protein appears key in severe epilepsy forms

A new study in Neuron focuses on the role that a lack of the protein “CLOCK” plays in several forms of epilepsy. The study provides evidence that excessive excitation of specific brain cells may be due to a lack of CLOCK in the region of the brain that produces the seizures. This effect, researchers found, is stronger during sleep.The finding potentially gives researchers a new way to develop a treatment for some cases of the most severe cases of the disabling disorder, said corresponding author Dr. Judy Liu, a new Assistant Professor of Neurology at Brown University. Because the study directly implicates a specific protein pathway in a specific part of a patient’s brain, Liu said a strategy for further research could be to deliver a drug that compensates for the lack of ...

Better mini brains could help scientists identify treatments for Zika-related brain damage

The team plans to continue using its improved organoids to better understand human brain development and to learn more about autism spectrum disorders, epilepsy and other neurological conditions.   UCLA researchers have developed an improved technique for creating simplified human brain tissue from stem cells. Because these so-called “mini brain organoids” mimic human brains in how they grow and develop, they’re vital to studying complex neurological diseases.   In a study published in the journal Cell Reports, the researchers used the organoids to better understand how Zika infects and damages fetal brain tissue, which enabled them to identify drugs that could prevent the virus’s damaging effects.

SenTiva Approved for Treatment of Epilepsy

Device billed as smallest, lightest responsive therapy for drug-resistant epilepsy   The SenTiva implantable generator and Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) Therapy Programming System (LivaNova USA) have received FDA approval for the treatment of patients with drug-resistant epilepsy.   SenTiva is the smallest and lightest responsive therapy for epilepsy, LivaNova says. The new VNS Therapy Programming System features a wireless wand and new user interface on a small tablet. Together, the components offer patients with drug-resistant epilepsy a physician-directed customizable therapy with smart technology and proven results to reduce the number of seizures, lessen the duration of seizures, and enable a faster recovery, LivaNova says.

Know more about febrile seizures in children

Febrile seizures (febrile convulsions) are fits (sic – Seizures) that can happen when a child has fever. They are the most common type of seizure in paediatric age group. They most commonly happen between the ages of 6 months to 6 years. The cumulative incidence is estimated about 5-7% and the peak incidence is noted at 18 months of age. It can be frightening and distressing to see your child having a seizure (fits), particularly if it is the first episode they are witnessing. 

Simulating a brain-cooling treatment that could one day ease epilepsy

Using computer simulation techniques, scientists have gained new insights into the mechanism by which lowering the temperature of specific brain regions could potentially treat epileptic seizures. The results are published in PLOS Computational Biology.   About 50 million people worldwide deal with sudden, recurring seizures that are the hallmark of epilepsy. Treatment with medication or surgery does not work for some patients, so scientists have been investigating a potential alternative called focal cooling, in which a device would be implanted in the brain to suppress the electrical signals — discharges — that characterize epileptic seizures.

Evogen Receives U.S. Patent Covering Its Novel Epilepsy Blood Test

Patent Covers Key Biomarkers in Evogen’s EvoScoreDX™ Biomarker-Based Blood Test for Distinguishing Epileptic Seizures; Addresses Major Unmet Need for Better Epilepsy Diagnostics Evogen, Inc., a leader in proteomics and genomics-based testing for improved diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders, today reported that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued a key patent covering the company’s biomarker-based blood test that can accurately identify epileptic seizures. It is the first patent to issue in Evogen’s multi-application intellectual property portfolio of blood-based biomarkers for seizure detection in epilepsy and other neurological diseases. U.S. Patent No. 9,772,335 is owned by the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) and is exclusively licens...

Marijuana and ‘spice’ could trigger seizures, study says

While a number of studies have suggested that marijuana may be effective for reducing seizures, new research cautions that potent and synthetic forms of the drug have the opposite effect.  Researchers from the University of Tsukuba in Japan found that natural tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the psychoactive chemical in marijuana – and the synthetic cannabinoid JWH-018 caused seizures in mice.   Study leader Olga Malyshevskaya and colleagues say that their findings – which are published in the journal Scientific Reports – should serve as a “public alert” to the potential harms caused by high-potency and synthetic marijuana.

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