There is a growing interest over the possible relationship between depression and epilepsy. A study recently published showed that there is an increased risk of developing epilepsy among persons diagnosed with depression, and vice versa. Epilepsy is a syndrome characterized by recurrent, unprovoked seizures due to an imbalance of chemicals in the nervous system. This chemical imbalance is also one of the underlying mechanisms of depression. This similarity in pathophysiology has sparked an interest among the medical community to determine the possible relationship between the two diseases.
New King’s College London research reveals how genetic defects can lead to epilepsy in children. In their new study, published in Scientific Reports and funded by Eli Lilly and Co., the researchers set out to understand how genetic defects affect electrical transmission in the brain. Understanding exactly how nerve cells are misfiring and creating seizures in children with epilepsy will allow researchers to design better, more personalised treatments for epilepsy.
Prolonged epileptic seizures may cause serious problems that will continue for the rest of a patient’s life. As a result of a seizure, neural connections of the brain may be rewired in an incorrect way. This may result in seizures that are difficult to control with medication. Mechanisms underlying this phenomenon are not entirely known, which makes current therapies ineffective in some patients.
Neurological diseases are best studied using human neurons, and a longtime goal — once thought impossible — has been to grow such neurons in the lab. Now researchers have su cceeded, maintaining adult neurons in culture for months, an achievement that opens a way to better understand how epilepsy treatments affect the brain.
Medtronic plc (NYSE: MDT) announced today that the first procedure using the Visualase(TM) MRI-Guided Laser Ablation System has been performed in the pivotal SLATE (Stereotactic Laser Ablation for Temporal Lobe Epilepsy) clinical trial at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Researchers have identified a network of 320 genes in the brain that are linked to epilepsy — a finding that could help address genetic anomalies that lead to the condition. In about 25 percent of cases, epilepsy has a clear cause, such as a head trauma or stroke. But most cases are the result of a genetic anomaly, researchers said in the study “Rare And Common Epilepsies Converge On A Shared Gene Regulatory Network Providing Opportunities For Novel Antiepileptic Drug Discovery.” It was published in the journal Genome Biology.
A naturally occurring compound often used in traditional Chinese medicine offered “robust” protection against induced seizures in mouse models of epilepsy and may prove of benefit to people — especially children — with treatment-resistant forms of the disease, according to a study published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology. Huperzine A, found in the club moss Huperzia serrata, is particularly helpful against febrile seizures that often occur in those with Dravet syndrome, a severe form of childhood epilepsy, and in genetic epilepsy with febrile seizures plus (GEFS+).
A particular structure in the brain is a “choke point” for a type of epileptic seizure that affects mostly children, Stanford University School of Medicine investigators have found. The researchers used an advanced technology called optogenetics to show, in rodent models of one of the most common forms of childhood epilepsy, that inducing synchronized, rhythmic activity in a specific nerve tract within this structure is sufficient to cause seizures, while disrupting that activity is sufficient to terminate them.
Neurological disorders are especially challenging to study in the laboratory, in part because of limited access to fully functional human neurons. Now, a powerful technique for reliably producing a subset of neurons involved with common neurological disorders has been developed by a team of Singaporean researchers led by Hyunsoo Je of the DUKE-NUS Medical School.