More than 50 million people of all ages suffer from epilepsy, otherwise known as seizure disorder, the fourth most common neurological disease in the world. Patients diagnosed with epilepsy often experience recurrent seizures triggered by the firing of a large collection of neurons in the brain. This ultimately generates a high-energy wave that spreads across the surface of the brain, resulting in numerous physical effects such as erratic body shaking, unconsciousness, exhaustion, and pain.
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.
A novel statistical approach to analyzing patients with epilepsy has revealed details about their brains’ internal networks. The findings may lead to better understanding and treatment of the disease, according to Rice University researchers.
Neuronal degeneration is the most severe long-term consequence of repetitive seizures in patients with epilepsy, which until now was thought to be primarily caused by excitotoxicity, or over-stimulation of the neurons. New findings indicate hypoxia, or lack of oxygen, due to abnormal blood flow may be to blame for as much as half the neuronal death caused by the condition.
An epilepsy patient’s emotional well-being may be negatively impacted when changes are made to their antiepileptic drug (AED) regimen. These are the findings from a study published online in the journal Epilepsy and Behavior. In order to understand how AED changes affect patient emotions, researchers asked members of an online epilepsy community to participate in an online survey which consisted of 31 questions that rated their feelings on a recent AED change. In addition to the survey results, comments from epilepsy-related online forums and social media websites where people expressed their experiences with AED changes were also analyzed (termed passive listening statements).
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.
A new study published in Epilepsia found that although most newly diagnosed cases of epilepsy in older adults are treated appropriately with monotherapy, only half of those patients receive treatment within the recommended time frame, and a substantial portion were prescribed older antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) despite recommendations to use newer AEDs in this population.
Epileptic activity appear to be more frequent in patients with Alzheimer’s disease than in healthy individuals and may be linked to disease progression, according to a recent study. These findings, previously seen in animals, suggest that increased neuronal excitability, a feature of epilepsy, may also contribute to the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Of the study’s patients, as many as 42.4 percent presented subclinical epileptiform spikes, especially during sleep. The study, “Incidence And Impact Of Subclinical Epileptiform Activity In Alzheimer’s Disease,” was published in the journal Annals of Neurology. The exchange of electrical signals in the brain is the basis of neuronal communication and activity. But in epileptic seizures, these signals are propagated in an exagger...
We have been posting about using Zebrafish to model epilepsy treatment since 2013, and about the potential for treatments to be developed from these models. Fast forward to 2017, and we have a viable treatment in clinical trials! Via News Medical: New drug discovered in zebrafish model of pediatric epilepsy shows promising results in clinical study “Bench-to-bedside” describes research that has progressed from basic science in animal models that has led to therapies used in patients. Now, a study in the journal Brain describes what could be considered a direct “aquarium-to-bedside” approach, taking a drug discovered in a genetic zebrafish model of epilepsy and testing it, with promising results, in a small number of children with the disease. The study was supported...
Over the past few years Sodium Channels have been linked to epilepsy and researchers have focused on this area of research to understand genetic epilepsy. A new study by Northwestern Medicine focused on discovering the genetic causes of irregularities in sodium channels and the potential for regulating them. Via Northwestern Medicine: A new Northwestern Medicine study may help explain why patients with the same epilepsy gene mutation experience different levels of disease severity. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), also reveal new insights into sodium channel regulation and a potential therapeutic target for epilepsy treatment. Christopher Thompson, PhD, research assistant professor of Pharmacology, was the first author of the study, led...
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.