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Compound derived from marijuana interacts with anti-epileptic drugs

New research published in Epilepsia, a journal of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), suggests that an investigational neurological treatment derived from cannabis may alter the blood levels of commonly used anti-epileptic drugs. It is important for clinicians to consider such drug interactions during treatment of complex conditions.

Pairnomix, StemoniX Develop Epilepsy Model in Search for New Anti-seizure Drugs

Pairnomix has joined efforts with StemoniX to develop a lab-based model of epileptic seizures using so-called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The model, which researchers refer to as a “seizure-in-a-dish” model system, will allow scientists to study seizures at a network level. In this way, they can use the model to screen for anti-epileptic drugs in a fast and easy manner. Minneapolis-based Pairnomix has expertise in epilepsy models, while San Diego-based StemoniX has developed the microBrain Platform. The model mirrors tissue architecture in the brain, with nerve cells connecting to each other through synapses, forming functional networks. For brain diseases such as epilepsy, iPSCs are invaluable research tools. These cells can be derived from skin tissue, and are forced to backt...

FDA Approves VNS Therapy Treatment for Drug-Resistant Epilepsy in Children as Young as Four Years Old

It was announced today that the FDA approves VNS Therapy® system (“VNS Therapy”) in patients as young as four years of age with partial onset seizures that are refractory to antiepileptic medications. This groundbreaking achievement makes VNS Therapy the first and only device that is FDA approved for drug-resistant epilepsy in this pediatric population. Previously, VNS Therapy was FDA approved for patients ages 12 and older. With this new indication, many children living with devastating drug-resistant seizures will have the opportunity for treatment beyond medication.

Noninvasive Deep Brain Stimulation Can Become Reality, Mouse Study Shows

Researchers have, for the first time, showed that it is possible to stimulate structures deep within the brain without the need for implanted electrodes — opening the possibility that epilepsy patients could receive deep brain stimulation in a noninvasive manner. The method applies scalp electrodes that send two currents into the brain. Brain cells only become stimulated in the spot where the two currents intersect, making it possible to easily change the exact size and location of the treatment.

Stem Cell Therapy Shows Potential in Treating Medication-resistant Epilepsy Patients

Stem cell therapy may be a safe and promising treatment option for epilepsy patients who are resistant to antiepileptic drugs, according to new research. The study, “Treatment of refractory epilepsy patients with autologous mesenchymal stem cells reduces seizure frequency: An open label study,” was published  in the journal Advances in Medical Sciences. Stem cell therapy consists of using stem cells (immature cells that can become any other cell type in the body) to replace faulty cells and treat patients with a given disease. Many approaches include using the patient’s own stem cells (autologous stem cells), collected from specific organs, such as the bone marrow. This method prevents future complications such as rejection by the body or a response from the person’s immune system. The Pha...

Sudden Deaths in Epilepsy May be Cardiac Disease

It is a little appreciated fact that about 10-20 percent of individuals who are told they have a seizure disorder and who are taking anticonvulsants actually never had epilepsy. Rather, the cause of their syncope was an intermittent cardiovascular event such as a vasovagal episode or an arrhythmia associated with cerebral hypoperfusion and motor movements interpreted as a classic neurogenic seizure. It may take tilt table testing and prolonged outpatient ECG monitoring to unravel the true scenario. This enigma is one reason the emergency clinician may encounter patients who seize despite the use of anticonvulsants. They just never had epilepsy. Several cardiac conditions can cause seizures, and this etiology may account for the observation that patients with seizures have a higher rate of ...

Man’s best friend: Evolutionary history of dogs could shed light on cancer, epilepsy in both species

An evolutionary tree of more than 161 dog breeds has been mapped out by geneticists, showing which types are closely related to each other. The research will be of obvious interest to dog owners but it is hoped it will shed light on the causes of diseases that affect both dogs and humans, including epilepsy.

‘Minibrains’ In A Dish Shed A Little Light On Autism And Epilepsy

Tiny, 3-D clusters of human brain cells grown in a petri dish are providing hints about the origins of disorders like autism and epilepsy. An experiment using these cell clusters — which are only about the size of the head of a pin — found that a genetic mutation associated with both autism and epilepsy kept developing cells from migrating normally from one cluster of brain cells to another, researchers report in the journal Nature.

New Guideline Published on Uncommon Risk of Death in Epilepsy American Academy of Neurology

There is an uncommon risk of death that people with epilepsy and their loved ones may not know about. The risk is called sudden unexpected death in epilepsy, or SUDEP. Now the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and the American Epilepsy Society have co-developed a new guideline on SUDEP, published in the April 24, 2017, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, and presented at the 69th AAN Annual Meeting in Boston, April 22 to 28, 2017. The guideline is endorsed by the International Child Neurology Association. SUDEP is when someone with epilepsy who is otherwise healthy dies suddenly with no known cause.

Cannabis compound may halve seizures for patients with severe epilepsy

For individuals with a severe form of epilepsy, a new study finds that the occurrence of seizures could be significantly reduced with a daily dose of cannabidiol – a chemical component of cannabis. Researchers say that cannabidiol – an active chemical in cannabis – could help to reduce seizures for patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Researchers from the Ohio State University found that individuals with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) who took cannabidiol every day for 14 weeks saw the frequency of atonic seizures fall by more than 50 percent. Atonic seizures, also known as drop seizures, involve a sudden, brief loss of muscle tone. Study co-author Dr. Anup Patel, of the College of Medicine at Ohio State, and colleagues recently presented their findings at the American A...

New Epilepsy Classifications

For the first time in almost three decades, the classification for epileptic seizures has been updated. The new system formally recognizes some seizure types, provides additional information on causes, and replaces obscure or questionable words and terms with more meaningful ones, the authors say.

The DEA just gave a big boost to a cannabis-based seizure drug

We are often judged by the company we keep, even unfairly. For decades, that has been the fate of cannabidiol, a chemical compound that has the bad luck to occur naturally in marijuana, the world’s most controversial plant. Because cannabidiol is subject to the same tight legal restrictions on personal and scientific use as is marijuana, its potential medical benefits have been underappreciated — at least up until now.

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