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What Modern Day Challenges Affect Epilepsy Treatment?

Researchers recently published an article in The Lancet Neurology discussing the difficulties facing seizure detection in patients with epilepsy.   Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that is characterised by short repetitive epileptic seizures. These seizures can be harmful to the individual depending on the circumstances in which they occur, such as a seizure while driving. This disorder is set apart from other neurological disorders since there is a broad range of different physiological changes that can cause it, leading to a large variation in symptoms and making it difficult to treat. While 70% of sufferers can be treated with pharmacological agents, 30% have no reliable anti-epileptic drugs that are effective for their particular type of epilepsy.

Antiepileptic drugs linked with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia, says research

According to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland and the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, DZNE, antiepileptic drugs are associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.   The clinical investigation, led by Heidi Taipale from the University of Eastern Finland, evaluated the data of nearly 100,000 individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease (from Germany and Finland) to see if there was a link between continuous use of antiepileptics and these neurodegenerative diseases and compared it with controls.

This funky helmet makes brain-scanning more comfortable

It can make scanning kids and patients with movement problems much easier.   See that helmet in the photo up there? That’s not a prop for a new sci-fi/horror flick — it’s a magnetoencephalography (MEG) helmet that can scan the brain and map its activity. MEG machines are used to look for pathological activity in patients with epilepsy and for brain tumor patients’ surgical planning. The machines are typically, humongous, heavy and can’t do their job if subjects don’t stay perfectly still, which means it’s hard to scan kids with epilepsy or people with Parkinson’s and other movement disorders. This helmet designed by scientists from the University of Nottingham and University College London will work even if the patient is moving.

Can MRI Brain Scans Help Us Understand Epilepsy?

A massive meta-analysis of global MRI imaging data on epilepsy patients seeks to clarify a complicated and mysterious neurological disorder. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by seizures, which can vary from mild and almost undetectable to severe, featuring vigorous shaking. Almost 40 million people worldwide are affected by epilepsy. Epileptic seizures are caused by an abnormally high level of activity in nerve cells in the brain. A small number of cases have been tied to a genetic defect, and major trauma to the brain (such as an injury or stroke) can also induce seizures. However, for the majority of cases, the underlying cause of epilepsy is not known. In many instances, epilepsy can be treated with the use of anti-convulsant medication. Some people will experience an i...

‘Missing mutation’ found in severe infant epilepsy

CHOP Researchers: Findings may pave way for early protective treatments Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia   Researchers have discovered a “missing mutation” in severe infant epilepsy–long-suspected genetic changes that might trigger overactive, brain-damaging electrical signaling leading to seizures They also found early indications that specific anti-seizure medications might prevent disabling brain injury by controlling epilepsy during a crucial period shortly after birth.

Biologists discover link between protein in brain, seizure suppression

Seizure suppression is the focus of an original research article by two members of the Department of Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences—and they have the pictures to prove it.   James Hewett, associate professor of biology, and Yifan Gong, a Ph.D. candidate in biology and neuroscience, have co-authored an article about a protein in the brain called T-cell intracellular antigen-1 (TIA-1). Their article recently made the cover of the prestigious journal Neuroscience.

Capturing Brain Signals With Soft Electronics

NEW TECHNOLOGY BREAKTHROUGH   Klas Tybrandt, principal investigator at the Laboratory of Organic Electronics at Linköping University, has developed new technology for long-term stable neural recording. It is based on a novel elastic material composite, which is biocompatible and retains high electrical conductivity even when stretched to double its original length.   The result has been achieved in collaboration with colleagues in Zürich and New York. The breakthrough, which is crucial for many applications in biomedical engineering, is described in an article published in the prestigious scientific journal Advanced Materials. The coupling between electronic components and nerve cells is crucial not only to collect information about cell signalling, but also to diagnose and treat...

MRI device that could enhance medical diagnostics

A Purdue-affiliated startup, MR-Link LLC, is developing a coin-sized, affordable device that once inserted into existing MRI machines could allow researchers and medical professionals to perform multiple imaging scans at once and more efficiently and effectively understand a patient’s physiology.   Ranajay Mandal, a graduate student in Purdue University’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, Nishant Babaria, graduate student in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Zhongming Liu, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and of biomedical engineering, co-founded MR-Link to further develop and commercialize the technology.

Left brain vs. right brain: Fact and fiction

The two hemispheres or sides of the brain — the left and the right — have slightly different jobs. But can one side be dominant and does this affect personality?   Some people believe that a person is either left-brained or right-brained and that this determines the way they think and behave.   In this article, we explore the truth and fallacy behind this claim. Read on to learn more about the functions and characteristics of the left and right brain.

Research reveals how brains develop the right mix of cells

Scientists have discovered a mechanism that controls the mix of cells in the developing brain, which could help us to understand and treat conditions such as epilepsy.   Broadly speaking, our brains contain two types of nerve cells or ‘neurons’: excitatory neurons, which increase activity in other neurons, and inhibitory interneurons, which dampen activity between neurons. The balance between the two forces of excitation and inhibition is thought to be critical for maintaining stable activity in healthy brains, and the disruption of this balance has been implicated in epilepsy, schizophrenia, intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorders.

Partnering to improve patient-neurologist dialogue about epilepsy

Digital Health Solutions, Child Neurology Foundation and Greenwich Biosciences begin work to create high-tech risk-screening tool    Experts in academia, patient advocacy and the health care industry have begun a partnership to improve communication about epilepsy between pediatricians, pediatric neurologists and the families of pediatric patients.   Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes seizures. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that almost 3.5 million Americans had active epilepsy in 2015, including 470,000 children. In a 2017 guideline, the American Academy of Neurology urged health care providers to report risks associated with the condition to caregivers of children living with epilepsy. Those risks include sudden unexpected death in epilepsy, or SUD...

Simple blood test could reveal epilepsy risk

A finger-prick blood test to diagnose epilepsy could be available within five years, according to scientists who are using tell-tale molecules called biomarkers to overcome current diagnostic problems and guide treatment.   More than 50 million people are affected by epilepsy worldwide. However, diagnosing the disease remains challenging and treatments are often unsuccessful: only 70% of patients taking anti-epileptic drugs are seizure-free.   “Diagnosis of epilepsy is really difficult,” explained David Henshall, professor of molecular physiology and neuroscience at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. “Seizures are the main clinical symptom for the disease but it is very rare that a doctor will witness the patient having a seizure. This makes epilepsy comp...

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