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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.

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.

Your neurons register familiar faces, whether you notice them or not

When people see an image of a person they recognize—the famous tennis player Roger Federer or actress Halle Berry, for instance—particular cells light up in the brain. Now, researchers reporting in Current Biology on September 21 have found that those cells light up even when a person sees a familiar face or object but fails to notice it. The only difference in that case is that the neural activity is weaker and delayed in comparison to what happens when an observer consciously registers and can recall having seen a particular image.

3D printed brain-like tissue for neurotransmitter production

Armed with a 3D printer and bio-ink made from stem cells, Australian scientists have created brain-like tissue in a breakthrough research. The unique bio-ink is composed of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) – possessing the same properties as embryonic stem cells – capable of transforming into any cell (and organ) in the body.

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.

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