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The future of neurology: Transforming patient value through the integration of technology

Unprecedented innovation in technology is rapidly revolutionising human life when it comes to healthcare.   From implementing artificial intelligence (AI), to using robotic nurse assistants, now more than ever healthcare companies are looking to advances in technology to aid their work in developing new treatments, to ultimately deliver better value to patients.   Health technology advances such as wearable devices which track a patients vital signs and monitor for symptoms, have the potential to vastly accelerate clinical development, and in turn advance how we prevent, diagnose early, monitor and potentially even cure severe diseases. And, increasingly we are seeing a convergence of pharmaceutical medicines and innovative technology, with the two combining to support patients i...

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...

British doctors prepare to implant ‘three-parent’ embryos in women

Doctors at Britain’s Newcastle University have selected two women to bear implanted embryos created from genetic material collected from three parents.   Both women carry gene mutations causing a rare condition known as “myoclonic epilepsy with ragged red fibres,” called “Merrf syndrome” for short.   Mitochondrial Replacement Technology, or MRT, aims to prevent diseases passed through mitochondrial DNA by transferring the mother’s nuclear DNA to a donor egg in which the nucleus has been removed but the mitochondria remains.   Described as “radical therapy” by the UK’s The Guardian, the process was legalized by Britain’s Parliament in 2015 and was met with a huge uproar from religious leaders and ethicists.   Britain’s Newcastle University received a license in March all...

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.

Monthly brain cycles predict seizures in patients with epilepsy

Implanted electrodes reveal long-term patterns of seizure risk.   University of California San Francisco neurologists have discovered monthly cycles of brain activity linked to seizures in patients with epilepsy. The finding, published online January 8 in Nature Communications, suggests it may soon be possible for clinicians to identify when patients are at highest risk for seizures, allowing patients to plan around these brief but potentially dangerous events.

Nanotubes go with the flow to penetrate brain tissue

Rice University researchers have invented a device that uses fast-moving fluids to insert flexible, conductive carbon nanotube fibers into the brain, where they can help record the actions of neurons.   The Rice team’s microfluidics-based technique promises to improve therapies that rely on electrodes to sense neuronal signals and trigger actions in patients with epilepsy and other conditions.

3D Printed Lenses to Help Prevent Photosensitive Epileptic Seizures

Many people have probably heard about the fact that flashing lights can cause seizures. About 3% of people who have epilepsy are affected by flashing lights when experienced at particular intensities or patterns. It is more common in young people and sometimes goes away with time, but for others with a condition known as photosensitive epilepsy, it remains a part of their daily experiences.   For those people, help is on the way in the form a young Kiwi inventor named Logan Williams who has developed a 3D printed polarized contact lens, which he is calling Polar Optics, that can help to combat the results of the condition. Williams, a student at the University of Canterbury, got the idea to address the problem upon learning that there were limited tools currently available to help tho...

Amazing tiny implantable device to study epilepsy!

Cambridge, MA based research lab Draper says it hopes to make a newly developed implantable electronic device available to researchers to study the effects on disorders ranging from epilepsy to Parkinson’s disease.   The device, the first radio wave-powered neuromodulation device to be built so small, is 2.5 millimeters long — five times smaller than other radio-powered wireless stimulators. The device is able to electronically stimulate nerves to help patients suffering from nervous system disorders control their symptoms.

Electronic ‘Nose’ Offers Rapid Epilepsy Diagnosis

An electronic “nose” that measures various compounds in exhaled breath reliably distinguishes patients with epilepsy from controls, new research shows. The noninvasive diagnostic tool is faster, less costly, and less invasive than electroencephalography (EEG) — the standard technique to diagnose epilepsy. Patients simply insert a small hand-held device into their mouth and breath into it for 5 minutes.

Experiment Reveals Potency of Ultrasound in Treatment of Disease

A study has revealed that ultrasound can be key in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease and other neurological diseases (including epilepsy) in the future.   An experiment that tested a macaque monkey and sheep has revealed that directing bursts of inaudible acoustic energy at a specific visual area of the brain can control the animals’ responses. The results, which were presented at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting held recently, revealed that focused ultrasound used in the said animals could safely and effectively alter brain activity rather than destroy tissue.

Researchers succeed with epilepsy early-warning system

A brain implant promises to transform the lives of persons with epilepsy by alerting them in time to avoid danger and potentially prevent seizures.   In a merger of maths, mach­ine learning and neuroscience, Melbourne, Austrailia researchers say they have proven the viability of a warning system that interprets the unique and ever-changing brainwave patterns that precede attacks.  

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