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In a first, marijuana substance reduces seizures for some epilepsy patients in clinical trial

For the first time, scientists have demonstrated that a component of cannabis reduces seizures in children with a rare form of epilepsy, marking a significant step in efforts to use marijuana and its derivatives to treat serious medical conditions.

Protein Found That May Improve Epilepsy Patients’ Response to Therapies

A protein that may help epilepsy patients respond better to drug therapies has been identified, a new study suggests. The study, titled “Molecular isoforms of high-mobility group box 1 are mechanistic biomarkers for epilepsy,” was published in the The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Lawmakers push legislation to provide epilepsy treatment nationwide

A controversial treatment for children with severe epilepsy could become legal nationwide. The treatment uses oil derived from Marijuana. While the treatment is legal in 44 states across the country, the treatment is still a challenge for many to access. Charlotte Figi, 10, is a happy and healthy third-grader from Colorado Springs. It’s a sight, mother, Paige Figi says she thought she’d never witness. Five and a half years ago, she was preparing to say goodbye.

Metformin shows promise as a potential treatment for fragile X syndrome

An inherited form of intellectual disability called fragile X may be treatable with metformin, the most widely used type 2 diabetes drug. This was the conclusion that researchers came to after studying the social, behavioral, and biological effects of metformin in a mouse model of fragile X. Research has shown that metformin, a drug used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, could be used to treat fragile X syndrome and other similar disorders.

Stem Cell Therapy Shows Potential in Treating Medication-resistant Epilepsy Patients

Stem cell therapy may be a safe and promising treatment option for epilepsy patients who are resistant to antiepileptic drugs, according to new research. The study, “Treatment of refractory epilepsy patients with autologous mesenchymal stem cells reduces seizure frequency: An open label study,” was published  in the journal Advances in Medical Sciences. Stem cell therapy consists of using stem cells (immature cells that can become any other cell type in the body) to replace faulty cells and treat patients with a given disease. Many approaches include using the patient’s own stem cells (autologous stem cells), collected from specific organs, such as the bone marrow. This method prevents future complications such as rejection by the body or a response from the person’s immune system. The Pha...

Why some images trigger seizures

In people with photosensitive epilepsy, flashing lights are well known for their potential to trigger seizures. The results can be quite stunning. For instance, a particular episode of Pokémon sent 685 people in Japan to the hospital. But seizures can be triggered by certain still images, too. Now, researchers reporting in Current Biology on May 8 who have conducted an extensive review of the scientific literature think they know what it is about some static pictures that can trigger seizures.

New UTHealth study focuses on treatment for epilepsy caused by tuberous sclerosis

A clinical trial of a drug that researchers hope can prevent or delay the onset of epilepsy in children with tuberous sclerosis has begun at McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). The Houston site, one of just seven in the country, is led by Mary K. Koenig, M.D., associate professor and Endowed Chair of Mitochondrial Medicine in the Division of Neurology of the Department of Pediatrics at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. “It could potentially be a game-changer for epilepsy in general as it is the first trial ever aimed at preventing seizures from developing in a vulnerable population,” Koenig said. Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a genetic disorder that causes tumors to form in many different organs, including the...

Q&A: How algorithms are fighting epilepsy

Researchers are crowdsourcing mathematical whizzkids to help predict when a seizure might strike! When Dr Levin Kuhlmann (BSc(Hons) 2000) set about probing the mysteries of how and why epileptic seizures occur, he took a novel approach to advancing the cause. He organised an international crowdsourcing project. He and his Melbourne colleagues sought engineering talent rather than investors’ money, with the goal of writing computer algorithms capable of predicting epileptic seizures based on the electrical signals and activity recorded from patients’ brains.

Study finds prevalence of depression and anxiety in individuals with epilepsy

An analysis of published studies found that in individuals with epilepsy, there is a 20.2% prevalence of anxiety disorders and a 22.9% prevalence of depression. Investigators also found no differences in the prevalence of either depression or anxiety based on the severity of illness.

Antidepressant may enhance drug delivery to the brain

New research from the National Institutes of Health found that pairing the antidepressant amitriptyline with drugs designed to treat central nervous system diseases, enhances drug delivery to the brain by inhibiting the blood-brain barrier in rats. The blood-brain barrier serves as a natural, protective boundary, preventing most drugs from entering the brain. The research, performed in rats, appears online in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism.

Pinpointing where seizures are coming from, by looking between the seizures

A computational approach developed at Boston Children’s Hospital, described in the journal Neurosurgery, published online May 2, 2017, could enable more patients with epilepsy to benefit from surgery when medications do not help. The approach streamlines the seizure monitoring process required for surgical planning, making surgery a more feasible and less risky option for patients. Currently, for some patients, pinpointing the diseased brain areas where their seizures originate requires invasive surgery to place grids of electrodes on the brain’s surface. This is followed by long-term electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring—typically for a week—while doctors wait for a seizure to happen. Then, patients must undergo a second brain operation to remove the diseased tissue. The new...

Man’s best friend: Evolutionary history of dogs could shed light on cancer, epilepsy in both species

An evolutionary tree of more than 161 dog breeds has been mapped out by geneticists, showing which types are closely related to each other. The research will be of obvious interest to dog owners but it is hoped it will shed light on the causes of diseases that affect both dogs and humans, including epilepsy.

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