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Research

Epilepsy study links mossy brain cells to seizures and memory loss

NIH-funded study in mice suggests loss of mossy cells plays a critical role in both. New findings in a study of mice suggest that a loss of mossy cells may contribute to seizures and memory problems in a form of epilepsy.Ivan Soltesz, Ph.D., Stanford University.   A small group of cells in the brain can have a big effect on seizures and memory in a mouse model of epilepsy. According to a new study in Science, loss of mossy cells may contribute to convulsive seizures in temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) as well as memory problems often experienced by people with the disease. The study was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health.

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.

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...

Which commonly prescribed drug is more effective for infants with epilepsy?

Study to help clinicians select an initial treatment for infants with epilepsy:   Comparison of two of the most commonly prescribed drugs for infants with nonsyndromic epilepsy revealed that levetiracetam was more effective than phenobarbital, according a multicenter, observational study published in JAMA Pediatrics. After six months of single-drug treatment, 40 percent of infants who received levetiracetam met criteria for successful outcome – they did not require a second anti-epileptic drug to control their seizures and they became seizure-free within three months of starting treatment. Only 16 percent of infants treated with phenobarbital achieved the same outcome.   “This is the first study to provide evidence that may help clinicians select an initial treatment ...

Infant’s scores on Apgar scale can predict risk of cerebral palsy or epilepsy

An infant’s scores on the so-called Apgar scale can predict the risk of a later diagnosis of cerebral palsy or epilepsy. The risk rises with decreasing Apgar score, but even slightly lowered scores can be linked to a higher risk of these diagnoses, according to an extensive observational study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden published in the esteemed journal The BMJ.

Stopping Epilepsy Before It Starts?

“Being able to identify that a person is likely to develop epilepsy following a brain injury is one of the most important focus areas in modern-day epilepsy research,” says Dr. Laura Lubbers, CURE’s Chief Scientific Officer. “With 3.4 million Americans suffering from epilepsy and seizures in the U.S., this discovery of a predictive biomarker for a certain form of epilepsy could prevent unpredictable seizures from taking over the lives of millions of Americans and their families.”   New research, funded by Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE), has discovered a ‘smoking gun’ biomarker that could result in treatments that stop some epilepsies before they even start.   Using a rat model of brain injury and epilepsy, CURE-funded researcher Dr. Annamaria Vezzani and her team...

Researchers move closer to solving puzzle of 15q13.3 microdeletion syndrome

Researchers are closer to solving the puzzle of a complex neurological condition called 15q13.3 microdeletion syndrome. Individuals with this condition are missing a small piece of chromosome 15 that usually contains six genes, but which one of the genes is responsible for the clinical characteristics of patients has not been clear. In this study, a multidisciplinary team of researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital has identified in a mouse model OTUD7A as the gene within the deleted region that accounts for many characteristics of the human condition. The researchers also discovered that mice deficient in the gene Otud7a have fewer dendritic spines, small protrusions involved in neuron communication, which might be related to the neurological deficits. The r...

Engineer Locates Brain’s Seizure Onset Zone In Record Time

University of Houston biomedical engineer is reporting a dramatic decrease in the time it takes to detect the seizure onset zone (SOZ), the actual part of the brain that causes seizures, in patients with epilepsy.   Nearly 30 percent of epilepsy patients are resistant to drug therapy, so they have the option of surgery to remove their seizure onset zones. Most of them opt in, according to assistant professor Nuri Ince, noting the improved quality of life for sufferers.

Brain folding sheds light on neurological diseases, researchers find

It may seem unlikely that studying the mechanics of concrete would inform brain research. However, Ellen Kuhl, mechanical engineering professor and head researcher for the Living Matter Lab, started out studying the molecular interactions of concrete and is now applying this understanding to the field of neuroscience, where her research has led to groundbreaking discoveries about neurological disorders.

Individual patient data allow researchers to study brain function using detailed simulations

Using patient measurement data, researchers from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Berlin Institute of Health have refined a brain modeling platform called the Virtual Brain. The software has been used in projects and publications across the globe. The latest findings have been published in eLife.   PHOTO CREDIT: The Virtual Brain is an open-source tool for the simulation of brain networks. Credit: Jessica Palmer/The Virtual Brain

Graduate Student Uses Artificial Intelligence AI to Advance Epilepsy Research

Artificial intelligence may be the next great medical tool for those with epilepsy, according to a research project done by Ph.D candidate Yogatheesan Varatharajah.   His research with AI resulted in a technique that can identify the brain regions that generate seizures, without requiring the inspection of actual seizures.   “While there is a lot of skepticism about whether artificial intelligence has a negative impact on humanity, we firmly believe that AI can be used to make mankind stronger and our work is a perfect example of that,” Varatharajah said.

Deep Learning Device Can Predict Epileptic Seizures

Imagine going about your daily life, working, shopping, and driving, knowing that you might have a seizure at any moment. But relief is on the horizon, as researchers from the University of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia have developed a potentially life-saving deep learning tool that can predict when an epileptic seizure is about to happen. Their study was published in the journal eBioMedicine last month. The deep learning-based prediction system “achieved mean sensitivity of 69% and mean time warning of 27%, significantly surpassing an equivalent random predictor for all patients by 42%,” according to the findings.

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