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MS drug may reverse some physical disability

AMERICAN ACADEMY OF NEUROLOGY Via Eureka Alert MINNEAPOLIS – A drug used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS), alemtuzumab, was found to reverse some of the physical disability caused by the disease, according to new research published in the October 12, 2016, online issue of Neurology®, a medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Because it can cause serious side effects, alemtuzumab is generally used in people who have not responded well to other MS drugs; however, in this study it was used relatively early in the course of MS. The drug is used in relapsing-remitting MS, the most common form of the disease, in which symptoms alternate between sudden worsening and remission. “While many MS drugs slow the progress of disability, there have been little data about the abi...

Existing anti-inflammatory drugs may be effective in treating epilepsy

In epileptic patients, seizures lead to an increased level of inflammation-related proteins called chemokines in the brain, and systemic inflammation likely helps trigger and promote the recurrence of seizures, making inflammation a promising new target for anticonvulsant therapy. The latest evidence on one particular chemokine of interest, CCL2, and its potential role in human epilepsy are the focus of an article in DNA and Cell Biology, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers (http://www.liebertpub.com/).

Epilepsy drug exposure does not increase newborn orofacial cleft risk

Pregnant women with epilepsy should not rule out continuing lamotrigine therapy due to concerns that exposure could increase the risk of orofacial clefts (OCs) in their babies, say investigators. Their findings indicate that the excess risk of OC is less than one in every 550 babies exposed to lamotrigine and therefore they do not support the sixfold increased risk suggested by the North American antiepileptic drug registry in 2006, a signal that led to warnings of the risk being added to patient information.

Experimental drug candidate may aid traumatic brain injury patients

A new report by University of Kentucky researcher Linda Van Eldik, PhD, describes an experimental drug candidate that may aid patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). The article appeared this week in the journal PLoS One, the world’s largest biology journal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls, motor vehicle collisions, and assault make up the most common causes of TBI. Symptoms of TBI, which include impaired cognition, memory, and motor control, may be temporary or permanent depending on the severity of the injury. “Following a head injury, the body mobilizes immune cells to respond to the trauma and jump-start the healing process,” Van Eldik said. “Although these immune cells help repair the injury, they also cause inflamma...

VNS technology could help improve lives of people recovering from stroke

A new study involving UT Dallas researchers shows that vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) technology could help improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who suffer weakness and paralysis caused by strokes. The study, published in the journal Stroke, marks the first time that VNS has been tested in individuals recovering from stroke. VNS already has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for certain illnesses, such as depression and epilepsy. It involves sending a mild electric pulse through the vagus nerve, which is in the neck. Stimulating this nerve relays information about the state of the body to the brain and encourages it to reorganize in a process called neural plasticity.

Running May Prevent Side Effects of AEDs

The simple act of running may be sufficient to prevent long-term cognitive impairments caused by prenatal exposure to antiepileptic drugs, according to a study published November 19th in Stem Cell Reports, the journal of the International Society for Stem Cell Research. The findings revealed that prenatal exposure to a commonly used antiepileptic drug called valproic acid (VPA) inhibited the birth of new neurons in the brains of adult mice and impaired their performance on learning and memory tasks. Remarkably, these postnatal side effects were largely prevented when the mice were given access to a running wheel at a young age.

FDA Approves 1st 3d Printed Drug, and it is For Epilepsy

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first three-dimensional printed oral drug product, Spritam(levetiracetam), from Aprecia Pharmaceuticals, the company announced today. Levetiracetam is indicated as adjunctive therapy for partial-onset seizures, myoclonic seizures, and primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures in adults and children with epilepsy. Spritam (levetiracetam) was developed with Aprecia’s proprietary ZipDose technology, which uses three-dimensional printing to create a porous formulation of the antiepileptic that disintegrates rapidly with a sip of liquid, even at a high dose of up to 1000 mg, the company explains in a news release.

Over 400 New Neurological Drugs in Development

America’s biopharmaceutical research companies are currently developing 420 medicines for patients suffering from neurological disorders, including epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson’s disease. As highlighted in a new report from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and the Epilepsy Foundation, scientists around the globe are collaborating to find new or more effective treatments for patients with these complex disorders that attack the nervous system. “Researchers have made tremendous advances in understanding how the nervous system works at the molecular and genetic levels which in turn has translated into the development of more effective treatments for neurological disorders,” said John J. Caste...

New Drug To Provide Relief for Epilepsy and Tinnitus

A new drug may treat epilepsy and prevent tinnitus by selectively affecting potassium channels in the brain, UConn neurophysiologist Anastasios Tzingounis and colleagues report in the 10 June Journal of Neuroscience.d Epilepsy and tinnitus are both caused by overly excitable nerve cells. Healthy nerves have a built-in system that slams on the brakes when they get too excited. But in some people this braking system doesn’t work, and the nerves run amok, signaling so much that the brain gets overloaded and has a seizure (epilepsy) or hears phantom ringing (tinnitus). About 65 million people worldwide are affected by epilepsy. The numbers on tinnitus are not as clearcut, but the American Tinnutus Association estimates 2 million people have tinnitus so disabling they have troubling funct...

Study shows epilepsy drug may protect MS patients’ vision

A drug commonly taken to prevent seizures in epilepsy may surprisingly protect the eyesight of people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 67th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, April 18 to 25, 2015. “About half of people with MS experience at some point in their life a condition called acute optic neuritis, in which the nerve carrying vision from the eye to the brain gets inflamed,” said study author Raj Kapoor, MD, with the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, England. “The condition can cause sudden total or partial blindness, foggy or blackened vision and pain. Even though eyesight can recover eventually, each attack still damages the nerve and the e...

Epilepsy drug may reverse memory loss of potential Alzheimer’s patients

A common epilepsy drug may reverse a condition that impairs memory in elderly patients and increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, suggests a study published this week in the journal NeuroImage: Clinical. The drug, atypical antiepileptic levetiracetam, reduced over-activity in the brains of patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), a condition marked by abnormal memory impairment for the patient’s age. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 10 to 20 percent of people aged 65 and older have mild cognitive impairment, and in many cases the condition is an early marker of Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Exposure to Drugs in the Womb Can Cause Neurological Problems

Research suggests that fetal exposure to chemicals or drugs can cause neurological problems. Babies whose mothers take the epilepsy drug valporic acid (VPA) during pregnancy, for example, appear to have an elevated risk of developing an autism spectrum disorder. In a new study, scientists who developed a tadpole model of this exposure directly observed deleterious effects on brain physiology and behavior. Understanding that connection could provide scientists with the opportunity to discover how to stop it. “We can use this to identify biological targets that we can potentially manipulate to effect a rescue,” said Eric James, a Brown University graduate student and lead author of a paper describing the research in the Journal of Neuroscience. “We can use this to potential...

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