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‘Missing mutation’ found in severe infant epilepsy

CHOP Researchers: Findings may pave way for early protective treatments Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia   Researchers have discovered a “missing mutation” in severe infant epilepsy–long-suspected genetic changes that might trigger overactive, brain-damaging electrical signaling leading to seizures They also found early indications that specific anti-seizure medications might prevent disabling brain injury by controlling epilepsy during a crucial period shortly after birth.

MRI device that could enhance medical diagnostics

A Purdue-affiliated startup, MR-Link LLC, is developing a coin-sized, affordable device that once inserted into existing MRI machines could allow researchers and medical professionals to perform multiple imaging scans at once and more efficiently and effectively understand a patient’s physiology.   Ranajay Mandal, a graduate student in Purdue University’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, Nishant Babaria, graduate student in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Zhongming Liu, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and of biomedical engineering, co-founded MR-Link to further develop and commercialize the technology.

Immune Response May Contribute to Pediatric Epilepsy

Irregular concentrations of T-cells in the brain contribute to the development of seizures in pediatric epilepsy, according to a Northwestern Medicine study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.   The experiments suggest anti-inflammatory drugs should be considered for therapy, in addition to the anti-seizure drugs that are typically prescribed, according to Stephen D. Miller, PhD, the Judy Gugenheim Research Professor of Microbiology-Immunology and the senior author of the study.

Left brain vs. right brain: Fact and fiction

The two hemispheres or sides of the brain — the left and the right — have slightly different jobs. But can one side be dominant and does this affect personality?   Some people believe that a person is either left-brained or right-brained and that this determines the way they think and behave.   In this article, we explore the truth and fallacy behind this claim. Read on to learn more about the functions and characteristics of the left and right brain.

Simple blood test could reveal epilepsy risk

A finger-prick blood test to diagnose epilepsy could be available within five years, according to scientists who are using tell-tale molecules called biomarkers to overcome current diagnostic problems and guide treatment.   More than 50 million people are affected by epilepsy worldwide. However, diagnosing the disease remains challenging and treatments are often unsuccessful: only 70% of patients taking anti-epileptic drugs are seizure-free.   “Diagnosis of epilepsy is really difficult,” explained David Henshall, professor of molecular physiology and neuroscience at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. “Seizures are the main clinical symptom for the disease but it is very rare that a doctor will witness the patient having a seizure. This makes epilepsy comp...

British doctors prepare to implant ‘three-parent’ embryos in women

Doctors at Britain’s Newcastle University have selected two women to bear implanted embryos created from genetic material collected from three parents.   Both women carry gene mutations causing a rare condition known as “myoclonic epilepsy with ragged red fibres,” called “Merrf syndrome” for short.   Mitochondrial Replacement Technology, or MRT, aims to prevent diseases passed through mitochondrial DNA by transferring the mother’s nuclear DNA to a donor egg in which the nucleus has been removed but the mitochondria remains.   Described as “radical therapy” by the UK’s The Guardian, the process was legalized by Britain’s Parliament in 2015 and was met with a huge uproar from religious leaders and ethicists.   Britain’s Newcastle University received a license in March all...

Graduate Student Uses Artificial Intelligence AI to Advance Epilepsy Research

Artificial intelligence may be the next great medical tool for those with epilepsy, according to a research project done by Ph.D candidate Yogatheesan Varatharajah.   His research with AI resulted in a technique that can identify the brain regions that generate seizures, without requiring the inspection of actual seizures.   “While there is a lot of skepticism about whether artificial intelligence has a negative impact on humanity, we firmly believe that AI can be used to make mankind stronger and our work is a perfect example of that,” Varatharajah said.

Deep Learning Device Can Predict Epileptic Seizures

Imagine going about your daily life, working, shopping, and driving, knowing that you might have a seizure at any moment. But relief is on the horizon, as researchers from the University of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia have developed a potentially life-saving deep learning tool that can predict when an epileptic seizure is about to happen. Their study was published in the journal eBioMedicine last month. The deep learning-based prediction system “achieved mean sensitivity of 69% and mean time warning of 27%, significantly surpassing an equivalent random predictor for all patients by 42%,” according to the findings.

New genetic test can predict adverse reactions to epilepsy drug

A study led by researchers at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) has identified a new genetic test that can be used to predict if a patient with epilepsy will develop an adverse reaction to a common anti-epileptic drug. The finding will help inform doctors to prescribe the safest and most beneficial treatment for patients with epilepsy. The study is published in the current edition of the journal Neurology. The research has identified a genetic factor that can be used to predict whether a patient with epilepsy will develop a rash in reaction to a common anti-epileptic drug called phenytoin. Phenytoin is used worldwide and is the most commonly prescribed anti-epileptic drug in developing countries.

Who’s This? -Can’t Recall A Famous Person’s Name? Blame Your Left Brain

The study – led by University of Manchester psychologists – is the first of its kind to assess the similarities and differences in how the left and right sides of the brain process semantic memory. The research, led by Dr Grace Rice and Professor Matthew Lambon Ralph from The University of Manchester, was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Medical Research Council. The team – working with neuropsychologists at Salford Royal and The Walton Centre for neurology in Liverpool – worked with 41 patients who had part of their brains removed to treat their long-standing epilepsy.

Population-Based Study Helps Predict Outcomes in Status Epilepticus

Convulsive status epilepticus (CSE) in children without prior neurologic abnormalities is not associated with long-term cognitive or other neurologic deficits, according to a large new population-based study published online December 5, 2017 in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health.   Previous smaller, hospital-based studies had reached similar conclusions, but independent experts told Neurology Today that the size, duration, and structure of this study, which included participants in the north London convulsive status epilepticus surveillance study cohort, allows clinicians to offer stronger reassurance to parents of children with CSE, defined as continuous or rapid sequential seizure activity for 30 minutes or more.   “This reinforces some of what we already knew, but fo...

Epilepsy associated with brain volume, thickness differences: Study

he largest-ever neuroimaging study of people with epilepsy shows that epilepsy involves more widespread physical differences than previously assumed   Epilepsy, a disorder in which nerve cell activity in the brain is disturbed, is linked to brain volume and thickness differences, according to a study.   Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects 0.6-1.5% of the global population, comprising many different syndromes and conditions, and defined by a tendency for seizures.   The research was led by UCL and the Keck School of Medicine of USC.   The largest-ever neuroimaging study of people with epilepsy shows that epilepsy involves more widespread physical differences than previously assumed, even in types of epilepsy that are typically considered to be more benign if...

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