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Neurology

Your neurons register familiar faces, whether you notice them or not

When people see an image of a person they recognize—the famous tennis player Roger Federer or actress Halle Berry, for instance—particular cells light up in the brain. Now, researchers reporting in Current Biology on September 21 have found that those cells light up even when a person sees a familiar face or object but fails to notice it. The only difference in that case is that the neural activity is weaker and delayed in comparison to what happens when an observer consciously registers and can recall having seen a particular image.

Local epileptic seizure shows long distance interaction

An epileptic seizure may be highly local, but it also influences brain activity at a distance of over ten centimeters from the core. This, in turn, affects the active area, scientists of the University of Twente and the University of Chicago show in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The area in which an epileptic seizure starts in the brain, may be small but it reaches other parts of the brain at distances of over 10 centimeters. That distant activity, in turn, influences the epileptic core, according to mathematicians and neurologists of the University of Twente and the University of Chicago.

Photosensitivity May Indicate CLN Type 2 Disease in Youngsters, Study Suggests

Early photosensitivity may be a hallmark of ceroid lipofuscinosis type 2 (CLN2) disease, according to the results of a small study. The study “Photosensitivity is an early marker of neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis type 2 disease” was published in the journal Epilepsia. The neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCLs), or Batten disease, are a heterogeneous group of lysosomal storage disorders that includes, among others, the neuronal CLN2 disease. Patients with this condition, which affects primarily the nervous system, typically develop initial symptoms – recurrent seizures (epilepsy) and difficulty coordinating movements (ataxia) – between ages 2 and 4 years.

Heat a trigger for seizures

Fever is the most common trigger for seizures in children between 5 months and 6 years of age. But the underlying cause is not always clear. Now in a study published in the journal Epilepsy Research, Jing-Qiong (Katty) Kang, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues show in a genetically altered mouse model that elevated body temperature alone can increase vulnerability to febrile seizures even in the absence of infection or inflammation.

Epilepsy drugs pose risks to developing brains, study suggests

Some drugs used to treat epilepsy harm children who are exposed to them in the womb or through breast milk, a new analysis of the literature suggests1. The drug valproate is particularly risky, boosting the likelihood of autism and other developmental problems up to 17-fold. The study is the first to compare the relative risks of taking various epilepsy drugs during pregnancy. Some of these medications are also used to treat bipolar disorder and migraines.

NeuroPace Epileptic Seizure Control System: Interview with Dr. Martha Morrell, CMO of NeuroPace

People with certain types of epilepsy may have the option to use a therapy that doesn’t include drugs. The RNS System from NeuroPace, a company out of Mountain View, California, monitors the brain for signs of an oncoming seizure and stimulates it to disrupt the process. It has been approved in the U.S. for about four years now, and we wanted to find more about how it works and how it’s being used. We had a chance to speak with Dr. Martha Morrell, Chief Medical Officer of NeuroPace, who was kind enough to answer our questions. Medgadget: The NeuroPace RNS system has shown to be effective at reducing seizures in many patients with epilepsy. Can you give us a brief overview of how the system functions?

Pioneering research reveals how altered brain networks can lead to seizures

An international team of scientists, led by mathematicians from the University of Exeter’s Living Systems Institute, have developed a ground-breaking new method that can identify regions of brain tissue most likely to generate seizures in people with epilepsy. The innovative new method, which utilizes mathematical modelling, offers the potential to complement existing clinical approaches and could lead to enhanced surgical outcomes. The new research is published in leading scientific journal, PLOS Computational Biology. Epilepsy, which affects around 1 in 100 people worldwide, is predominantly treated by a range of medications. However, in around a third of cases people do not experience adequate seizure control through drugs and alternative therapies are sought. In some instances su...

Self-Management Programs Help with Epilepsy

For 10 years the CDC Managing Epilepsy Well Network has developed innovative programs using e-tools to reach people with epilepsy. Learn how these programs can help your patients with epilepsy better manage their condition. The Importance of Epilepsy Self-Management Epilepsy is a broad term used for a brain disorder that causes seizures. There are many different types of epilepsy and many different kinds of seizures. Epilepsy can get in the way of life, mostly when seizures keep happening. Although there are many drugs to help prevent seizures, they don’t always work. In fact, about one-third of people with epilepsy who are receiving care still have seizures.1 Uncontrolled seizures can increase the risk of injury, anxiety, depression, brain damage, and in rare cases, death. They can also i...

3D printed brain-like tissue for neurotransmitter production

Armed with a 3D printer and bio-ink made from stem cells, Australian scientists have created brain-like tissue in a breakthrough research. The unique bio-ink is composed of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) – possessing the same properties as embryonic stem cells – capable of transforming into any cell (and organ) in the body.

New method identifies brain regions most likely to cause epilepsy seizures

Scientists have developed a new way to detect which areas of the brain contribute most greatly to epilepsy seizures, according to a PLOS Computational Biology study. The strategy, devised by Marinho Lopes of the University of Exeter and colleagues, could help surgeons select specific brain areas for removal to stop seizures.

Estrogen-mediated brain protection directly linked to intake of of fatty acids found in oils

Scientists are increasingly appreciating estrogen’s role in brain health. Now for the first time, production of estrogen in the brain has been directly linked to the presence of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA is found in abundance in fish oils and is also synthesized from alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid found in some vegetable-based oils.

National and State Estimates of the Numbers of Adults and Children with Active Epilepsy — United States, 2015

Epilepsy, a brain disorder leading to recurring seizures, has garnered increased public health focus because persons with epilepsy experience pronounced and persistent health and socioeconomic disparities despite treatment advances, public awareness programs, and expanded rights for persons with disabilities (1,2). For almost all states, epilepsy prevalence estimates do not exist. CDC used national data sources including the 2015 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) for adults (aged ≥18 years), the 2011–2012 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH), and the 2015 Current Population Survey data, describing 2014 income levels, to estimate prevalent cases of active epilepsy, overall and by state, to provide information for state public health planning. In 2015, 1.2% of the U.S. populatio...

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