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See these first-of-a-kind views of living human nerve cells

New database could shed light on how people’s brains tick   The human brain is teeming with diversity. By plucking out delicate, live tissue during neurosurgery and then studying the resident cells, researchers have revealed a partial cast of neural characters that give rise to our thoughts, dreams and memories.   So far, researchers with the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle have described the intricate shapes and electrical properties of about 100 nerve cells, or neurons, taken from the brains of 36 patients as they underwent surgery for conditions such as brain tumors or epilepsy. To reach the right spot, surgeons had to remove a small hunk of brain tissue, which is usually discarded as medical waste. In this case, the brain tissue was promptly packed up and sent — ...

Scientists developing a pharmaceutical that stops convulsions

Scientists from RUDN University took an active part in the development of a chemical compound to stop convulsions during epileptic seizures. The results of the study were published in Chirality.   Epilepsy is a chronic neuralgic disease that causes convulsive seizures in humans and other animals. The pathogenesis of this disease is paroxysmal discharges in the nerve cells of the brain that cause convulsions. Anticonvulsants help to stop the epileptic fit. The drug itself is a powder that is dissolved in water and injected into a person experiencing such a seizure.

Star-shaped brain cells orchestrate neural connections

Brains are made of more than a tangled net of neurons. Star-like cells called astrocytes diligently fill in the gaps between neural nets, each wrapping itself around thousands of neuronal connections called synapses. This arrangement gives each individual astrocyte an intricate, sponge-like structure.   New research from Duke University finds that astrocytes are much more than neurons’ entourage. Their unique architecture is also extremely important for regulating the development and function of synapses in the brain.   When they don’t work right, astrocyte dysfunction may underlie neuronal problems observed in devastating diseases like autism, schizophrenia and epilepsy.

Scientists identify eight new genes involved in epileptic encephalopathy

Approximately 30 per cent of patients with epilepsy do not respond to anti-epileptic drugs. In these cases, all neurologists can do is attempt to find the right combination of medication through trial and error.  A treatment that could target the root cause of epilepsy is a beacon of hope for these patients.  But identifying the cause of the pathology is no easy feat.   “There are many genes involved,” said Jacques Michaud, pediatrician at CHU Sainte-Justine and Professor of Pediatrics and Neuroscience at the Faculty of Medicine of Université de Montreal. “Each child can have different genetic mutations. Often the clinical symptoms do not clearly reflect the cause of epilepsy, which makes choosing the right treatment more difficult.”

Non-Epileptic Seizures Tied to Less Stress-Reducing Hormone

A new Danish study finds that people who suffer from psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) — a condition characterized by spasms similar to epileptic seizures but which are unexplained and untreatable — have a lower level of the hormone neuropeptide Y (NPY) in their blood.   NPY is a hormone associated with an increased resilience for dealing with stress.

Wristband devices detect dangerous seizures in patients with epilepsy

New research published in Epilepsia, a journal of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), indicates that wristband devices may improve the detection and characterization of seizures in patients with epilepsy. New devices are needed for monitoring epileptic seizures, especially those that can lead to sudden death. While rare, “sudden unexpected death in epilepsy” (SUDEP) is the most common cause of death in epilepsy, and it often occurs at night. The gold standard for monitoring seizures — video-electroencephalography — is available in epilepsy monitoring units but is an impractical procedure for daily life use. Therefore, clinicians often rely on patients and caregivers to report seizure counts, which are often inaccurate.

New study hopes to shed light on mechanism behind epileptic and non-epileptic seizures

Seizures are a common result of traumatic brain injury, especially in military veterans. A new study funded by the DOD, Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, and conducted in Providence RI and Birmingham AL (at the Veterans Affairs Medical Centers in Providence, RI and Birmingham, AL, Rhode Island Hospital, Brown University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham) hopes to shed new light on the mechanism behind seizures associated with post-traumatic epilepsy and psychogenic nonepileptic seizures.   The $3.6 million award, W81XWH-17-1-0619 will examine whether a form of cognitive behavior therapy, a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy approach to problem-solving, could be effective in reducing the frequency and/or severity of seizures in those with TBI. Cognitive...

These Neurons are Alive and Firing. And You Can Watch Them In 3-D

For patients with epilepsy, or cancerous brain lesions, sometimes the only way to forward is down. Down past the scalp and into the skull, down through healthy grey matter to get at a tumor or the overactive network causing seizures. At the end of the surgery, all that extra white and grey matter gets tossed in the trash or an incinerator. Well, not all of it. At least, not in Seattle.     For the last few years, doctors at a number of hospitals in the Emerald City have been saving those little bits and blobs of brain, sticking them on ice, and rushing them off in a white van across town to the Allen Institute for Brain Science. Scientists there have been keeping the tissue on life support long enough to tease out how individual neurons look, act, and communicate. And today they’...

First test of anti-epilepsy surgeries in children shows dramatic benefit

Brain surgery for children whose epilepsy is resistant to drug therapy can produce a 10-fold increase in the odds of being seizure-free after one year and can do it without affecting IQ, according to a new Indian study of 116 patients in The New England Journal of Medicine   Seventy-seven percent of the children were free of seizures at one year after the surgery, compared with seven percent in a control group of youngsters who received medical therapy alone while waiting for surgery. Behavior and quality of life also improved.

A COMPLETE GUIDE TO MEDICAL ALERT SYSTEMS

Aging is a fact of life for everyone. But thanks to advances in medical technology, medications, and tools that make living and workspaces more accessible, people can expect to stay in their homes for far longer today than they used to.   Every year, more than one-fourth of adults 65 and older will take a fall. For those that do, the risk of a repeat fall is doubled.   That doesn’t mean living at home is without its dangers. Every year, more than one-fourth of adults 65 and older will take a fall, according to the Centers for Disease Control. For those that do, the risk of a repeat fall is doubled. One out of five of these falls results in a serious injury to the head or other part of the body, while 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling.

How to deal with epilepsy

Epilepsy is a condition where the nerve cell activity in the brain is disturbed.  Epilepsy is a disorder in which nerve cell activity in the brain is disturbed, causing seizures or periods of unusual behavior, sensations and sometimes loss of consciousness.  People with epilepsy behave differently. Some simply stare blankly for a few seconds during a seizure, while others repeatedly twitch their arms or legs.  You need to have two unprovoked seizures to be diagnosed with epilepsy. All seizures need to be treated because they can be dangerous during activities such as driving or swimming.

Funnel web spiders’ ‘beautiful molecules’ show promise for treating epilepsy, stroke

Several new Australian-developed medicines showing promise treating childhood epilepsy, stroke and autoimmune diseases have emerged from an unusual source: the fangs of venomous creatures. Big pharmaceutical companies are excited by results showing these new venom-drugs are often superior to man-made drugs, and they are starting to pour money into research.

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