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Neurology

Epilepsy biomarkers pave way for noninvasive diagnosis, better treatments

Researchers have identified a unique metabolic signature associated with epileptic brain tissue that causes seizures. The chemical biomarker can be detected noninvasively using technology based on magnetic resonance imaging. It will allow physicians to precisely identify small regions of abnormal brain tissue in early-stage epilepsy patients that can’t be detected today using current technology. The biomarker could also be used to localize epileptic brain regions for therapeutic removal without the need for additional surgery.

Potential Surgery Treatment for Certain Epilepsy Patients, Review Says

A technique called MRI-guided laser interstitial thermal therapy (MgLiTT) may be a potential treatment for epilepsy patients, according to a recent review. Researchers say that MgLiTT may be a particularly viable option for patients whose seizures are caused by tumor-like bodies affecting the hypothalamus, which are difficult to treat with traditional surgery.

Surgery in Older Patients with Drug-resistant Focal Epilepsy Still Effective, Study Finds

Researchers studied the medical records of patients with drug-resistant focal epilepsy who underwent surgery for the disorder at the age of 50 or older and found that the treatment was as effective as it was for patients younger than 50. However, there was a higher risk of complications from the procedure.

Stereo EEG provides a deep, detailed map of the brain as physicians evaluate patients for the surgical treatment of epilepsy.

For patients that find their seizures difficult to manage on medications, other treatment options such as diet, devices or surgery may be beneficial. Dr. Amy Crepeau, neurologist at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, discusses the evaluation of patients with epilepsy using brain mapping technology.

What is the vagus nerve?

The vagus nerve is the longest and most complex of the 12 pairs of cranial nerves that emanate from the brain. It transmits information to or from the surface of the brain to tissues and organs elsewhere in the body. The name “vagus” comes from the Latin term for “wandering.” This is because the vagus nerve wanders from the brain into organs in the neck, chest, and abdomen.

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.

Valproic Acid Concentration Drops With Ketogenic Diet

For patients with epilepsy, anti-epileptic drug serum concentrations remain stable during the ketogenic diet, apart from those of valproic acid, according to a study published online June 18 in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics. Changes in serum concentrations of other anti-epileptic drugs not found to be significant. For patients with epilepsy, anti-epileptic drug serum concentrations remain stable during the ketogenic diet (KD), apart from those of valproic acid, according to a study published online June 18 in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics.

A Chronic Childhood Illness Like Epilepsy Could Increase Risk of Adult Depression, Study Reports

Chronic childhood illnesses such as epilepsy could increase the risk that a person will develop clinical depression as an adult, according to new research. The study, “Research Review: Childhood chronic physical illness and adult emotional health – a systematic review and meta-analysis,” was published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Researchers Identify New Link Between Gene Expression and Brain Memory Processing

Researchers at the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas have discovered that more than 100 genes are linked to memory processing in the brain. The discovery could lead to the development of new therapies for memory-associated conditions such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and others, the study’s authors said.

Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood: A Physicians’ Guide for Diagnosis

Alternating hemiplegia of childhood (AHC) is a rare genetic disorder that involves both paroxysmal and chronic neurological symptoms, and its name comes from the recurrent attacks of hemiplegia. Attacks have been known to affect either side in the same patient at different times, or even during the same attack (“alternating”). Beyond that, AHC patients can have paroxysmal attacks involving a wide variety of other abnormalities of movement, including dystonia, quadriplegia, nystagmus, and gaze palsy, and  autonomic symptoms. The paroxysmal symptoms resolve with sleep, but may recur after the child awakens.

Epilepsy and natural treatments: Can they help?

Epilepsy is a disease that disrupts the electrical activity of the nervous system, causing seizures. More than 65 million people in the world have epilepsy. 1 in 26 Americans will develop the disease during their lives. Children are the group most frequently diagnosed with new cases of epilepsy. In the United States, 300,000 children under 14 are affected by the condition. Some may outgrow the disorder, but most will not. The number of senior citizens with epilepsy is also 300,000. People with epilepsy have a range of treatment options, including alternative therapies. The illness is a complex condition, however, and all alternative treatment options must be looked at carefully, to ensure they are effective. Causes of epilepsy Epilepsy is a complex disease that can disrupt the electrical a...

Molecule may help maintain brain’s synaptic balance

Many neurological diseases are malfunctions of synapses, or the points of contact between neurons that allow senses and other information to pass from finger to brain. In the brain, there is a careful balance between the excitatory synapses that allow messages to pass, and the inhibitory synapses that dampen the signal. When that balance is off, the brain becomes unable to process information normally, leading to conditions like epilepsy.

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