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Neurology

What is a pseudoseizure?

Pseudoseizures, also called psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES), are seizures that occur as a result of psychological causes, such as severe mental stress.   Treating the underlying psychological cause can often help to reduce the number of seizures or prevent them happening.   It is easy to misdiagnose the condition as the symptoms are very similar to those of epilepsy, but this will result in the wrong treatment approach.   In this article, learn more about the causes and symptoms of pseudoseizures, as well as the treatment options.

Adjunctive Everolimus Reduces Seizure Frequency in Tuberous Sclerosis

Adjunctive everolimus therapy is safe and effective for reducing the frequency of seizures in pediatric patients with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), according to a post-hoc analysis of a phase 3, prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the May 23 online edition of The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.   Epileptic seizures in TSC are difficult to treat, because most patients become treatment refractory. Typically, the onset of epilepsy occurs during infancy and early childhood, which makes treatment decisions difficult.

Research reveals underappreciated role of brainstem in epilepsy

New research from Vanderbilt suggests that repeated seizures reduce brainstem connectivity, a possible contributor to unexplained neurocognitive problems in epilepsy patients. The brainstem has been rarely studied in epilepsy because seizures typically originate in the temporal lobe or other areas of the cortex. Noting that people with temporal lobe epilepsy often lose consciousness even though the temporal lobe does not control wakefulness, Dario Englot, MD, Ph.D., surgical director of epilepsy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said he decided to focus on the region that does control wakefulness—the brainstem. He hypothesized that connectivity disruptions with the brainstem resulting from a history of seizures might play a role in diminished cognitive functions that are not related...

Prediction method for epileptic seizures developed

Epileptic seizures strike with little warning and nearly one third of people living with epilepsy are resistant to treatment that controls these attacks. More than 65 million people worldwide are living with epilepsy.

Personalizing therapeutic brain stimulation

Research could inform development of individualized stimulation protocols for neuropsychiatric disorders   A study of epilepsy patients with implanted electrodes provides an unprecedented view of the changes in brain activity created by electrical stimulation. These findings, published in JNeurosci, have the potential to improve noninvasive stimulation approaches toward the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders.   Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is increasingly used in patients with disorders such as depression that do not respond well to medication or psychotherapy. Although the effects of stimulation on the motor cortex have been characterized in animal models and humans, its effects on other brain areas — including the prefrontal cortex, the target ...

Researchers discover novel mode of neurotransmitter-based communication

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine have discovered the first example of a novel mode of neurotransmitter-based communication. The discovery, published in Nature Communications, challenges current dogma about mechanisms of signaling in the brain, and uncovers new pathways for developing therapies for disorders like epilepsy, anxiety and chronic pain.

Mechanism underlying malformation associated with severe epilepsy is revealed

Study suggests dysregulation of gene NEUROG2 could be linked to development of focal cortical dysplasia, one of the most common causes of drug-resistant epilepsy   One of the most frequent causes of drug-resistant epilepsy, considered a difficult disease to control, is a brain malformation known as focal cortical dysplasia.   Patients with this problem present with discreet disorganization in the architecture of a specific region of the cortex, which may or may not be associated with the presence of nerve cells that have structural and functional abnormalities.

Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Treatment Commences Clinical Trial Recruitment

This week, AMO Pharma Limited announced the commencement of patient recruitment for an interventional study of AMO-01, an investigational Ras-ERK pathway inhibitor for the treatment of Phelan-McDermid syndrome (PMS).   “Treatment of Phelan-McDermid syndrome represents a significant area of unmet need in healthcare, and AMO Pharma is grateful to the research team at Mt. Sinai as well as the Phelan McDermid Syndrome Foundation for their commitment to this landmark research effort,” said Michael Snape, PhD, CEO of AMO Pharma. “Research thus far indicates that AMO-01 could have important applications in the treatment of patients living with Phelan-McDermid syndrome in the years ahead.”

FDA Reports a Life-Threatening Immune Reaction to Lamotrigine: What You Should Know

A rare but life-threatening immune reaction in response to lamotrigine (Lamictal) requires prompt diagnosis and treatment, according to a recent alert from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).   On April 25, the FDA issued what it calls a “drug safety communication” about the risk of a condition so rare that few neurologists have heard of it: hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), a systematic immune reaction that can result in organ failure and death if not quickly treated.   Just eight such cases associated with lamotrigine, including one death, are known by the FDA to have occurred since the drug was first approved in 1994 as a treatment for epilepsy. Since then, it has also been approved for bipolar disorder, and is now increasingly prescribed off-label...

Lightning strikes can affect brain implants, study says

Doctors suggest that physicians and medical-device companies add lightning strikes to the list of things that patients with electrodes implanted in their brains should watch out for.

FDA Approves Medtronic’s Deep Brain Stimulation Therapy for Refractory Epilepsy

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted premarket approval for Medtronic’s Deep Brain Stimulation DBS) therapy as adjunctive treatment for reducing the frequency of partial-onset seizures in individuals 18 years of age or older who are refractory to 3 or more antiepileptic medications.   The therapy delivers controls electrical pulses to the anterior nucleus of the thalamus, a target in the brain that is part of a network involved in seizures.

Memory-boosting brain implants are in the works. Would you get one?

Neural prostheses look promising in new studies, though there’s still a lot of work to do.   How far would you go to keep your mind from failing? Would you go so far as to let a doctor drill a hole in your skull and stick a microchip in your brain?   It’s not an idle question. In recent years neuroscientists have made major advances in cracking the code of memory, figuring out exactly how the human brain stores information and learning to reverse-engineer the process. Now they’ve reached the stage where they’re starting to put all of that theory into practice.   Last month two research teams reported success at using electrical signals, carried into the brain via implanted wires, to boost memory in small groups of test patients. “It’s a major milestone in demonstrating...

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