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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...

Why some images trigger seizures

In people with photosensitive epilepsy, flashing lights are well known for their potential to trigger seizures. The results can be quite stunning. For instance, a particular episode of Pokémon sent 685 people in Japan to the hospital. But seizures can be triggered by certain still images, too. Now, researchers reporting in Current Biology on May 8 who have conducted an extensive review of the scientific literature think they know what it is about some static pictures that can trigger seizures.

Left and Right Brain—The Surprising Truth

Neuroscientists and psychologists all around the world have put great effort into investigating the functions and differences of the left and right brain. The existence of differences between left brain and right brain have been proven by many studies. Especially valuable are the observations that have been made on brain injuries. In this article, you will learn everything about the left brain vs. right brain, including their functions and characteristics.

Pinpointing where seizures are coming from, by looking between the seizures

A computational approach developed at Boston Children’s Hospital, described in the journal Neurosurgery, published online May 2, 2017, could enable more patients with epilepsy to benefit from surgery when medications do not help. The approach streamlines the seizure monitoring process required for surgical planning, making surgery a more feasible and less risky option for patients. Currently, for some patients, pinpointing the diseased brain areas where their seizures originate requires invasive surgery to place grids of electrodes on the brain’s surface. This is followed by long-term electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring—typically for a week—while doctors wait for a seizure to happen. Then, patients must undergo a second brain operation to remove the diseased tissue. The new...

‘Silent Seizures’ Discovered in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease

AlDeep in the brains of two patients with Alzheimer’s disease, the main memory structure, the hippocampus, displays episodic seizure-like electrical activity. These non-convulsive hippocampal seizures are the first signs of ‘silent’ brain electrical network dysfunction described in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The discovery, published in the journal Nature Medicine, provides a better understanding of the condition and can potentially lead to new treatments for this devastating disease affecting more than 5 million people in the U.S. “About 10 years ago, we were surprised to find ‘silent seizures’ in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease,” said co-senior author Jeffrey L. Noebels, professor of neurology, neuroscience, and molecular &...

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 ...

‘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.

Youth with uncomplicated epilepsy have favorable social outcomes as their siblings

A 15-year follow-up study of young adults with epilepsy found that those with uncomplicated epilepsy who were seizure-free for five years or more did as well as their siblings without epilepsy in measures of education, employment, family arrangements and driving status. Youth with complicated epilepsy had worse social outcomes and were less likely to drive, even if living without seizures. Results were published in the journal Epilepsia.

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...

Cannabidiol May Reduce Seizures by Half in Hard-to-treat Epilepsy

Promising results from a large-scale, controlled, Phase 3 clinical study of epilepsy patients being treated with cannabidiol will be presented next week at the American Academy of Neurology’s Annual Meeting in Boston on April 25. GW Pharmaceuticals’ liquid oral formulation of cannabidiol (CBD), called Epidiolex, is one of 500 compounds found in cannabis. Unlike the well-known compound, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not produce a “high” as the psychoactive component is absent. Results from the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that almost 40 percent of people with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) had at least a 50 percent reduction in drop seizures, compared to 15 percent taking a placebo. LGS is a severe form of epilepsy that often results in impaired intellectua...

First Epilepsy Clinical Trial Patients Implanted with Dose-delivering Prometra II Device

The first refractory epilepsy patients have been implanted with Prometra II programmable infusion pumps for a clinical trial of the dose-delivery devices, according to the product’s developers, Flowonix Medical and Cerebral Therapeutics. Dan Abrams, Cerebral Therapeutics’ CEO, said the multi-center ADDRESS trial is the first study of programmable, implantable pumps delivering medication directly to the brain — what is called intracerebroventricular delivery.

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