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Scientists developing a pharmaceutical that stops convulsions

Scientists from RUDN University took an active part in the development of a chemical compound to stop convulsions during epileptic seizures. The results of the study were published in Chirality.   Epilepsy is a chronic neuralgic disease that causes convulsive seizures in humans and other animals. The pathogenesis of this disease is paroxysmal discharges in the nerve cells of the brain that cause convulsions. Anticonvulsants help to stop the epileptic fit. The drug itself is a powder that is dissolved in water and injected into a person experiencing such a seizure.

Star-shaped brain cells orchestrate neural connections

Brains are made of more than a tangled net of neurons. Star-like cells called astrocytes diligently fill in the gaps between neural nets, each wrapping itself around thousands of neuronal connections called synapses. This arrangement gives each individual astrocyte an intricate, sponge-like structure.   New research from Duke University finds that astrocytes are much more than neurons’ entourage. Their unique architecture is also extremely important for regulating the development and function of synapses in the brain.   When they don’t work right, astrocyte dysfunction may underlie neuronal problems observed in devastating diseases like autism, schizophrenia and epilepsy.

Scientists identify eight new genes involved in epileptic encephalopathy

Approximately 30 per cent of patients with epilepsy do not respond to anti-epileptic drugs. In these cases, all neurologists can do is attempt to find the right combination of medication through trial and error.  A treatment that could target the root cause of epilepsy is a beacon of hope for these patients.  But identifying the cause of the pathology is no easy feat.   “There are many genes involved,” said Jacques Michaud, pediatrician at CHU Sainte-Justine and Professor of Pediatrics and Neuroscience at the Faculty of Medicine of Université de Montreal. “Each child can have different genetic mutations. Often the clinical symptoms do not clearly reflect the cause of epilepsy, which makes choosing the right treatment more difficult.”

Lack of CLOCK protein appears key in severe epilepsy forms

A new study in Neuron focuses on the role that a lack of the protein “CLOCK” plays in several forms of epilepsy. The study provides evidence that excessive excitation of specific brain cells may be due to a lack of CLOCK in the region of the brain that produces the seizures. This effect, researchers found, is stronger during sleep.The finding potentially gives researchers a new way to develop a treatment for some cases of the most severe cases of the disabling disorder, said corresponding author Dr. Judy Liu, a new Assistant Professor of Neurology at Brown University. Because the study directly implicates a specific protein pathway in a specific part of a patient’s brain, Liu said a strategy for further research could be to deliver a drug that compensates for the lack of ...

Pioneering research reveals how altered brain networks can lead to seizures

An international team of scientists, led by mathematicians from the University of Exeter’s Living Systems Institute, have developed a ground-breaking new method that can identify regions of brain tissue most likely to generate seizures in people with epilepsy. The innovative new method, which utilizes mathematical modelling, offers the potential to complement existing clinical approaches and could lead to enhanced surgical outcomes. The new research is published in leading scientific journal, PLOS Computational Biology. Epilepsy, which affects around 1 in 100 people worldwide, is predominantly treated by a range of medications. However, in around a third of cases people do not experience adequate seizure control through drugs and alternative therapies are sought. In some instances su...

Neuroscientists develop new forms of diagnosis and therapy for temporal lobe epilepsy

What if you fell off your bicycle today and ten years later you developed epilepsy? Relationships like this might appear far-fetched but are entirely possible, say Freiburg researchers. Using the latest MRI scanning procedures, Prof. Dr. Carola Haas, Department of Neurosurgery, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Hennig, Department of Radiology, and Prof. Dr. Ulrich Egert, Department of Microsystems Engineering (MST) of the University of Freiburg, in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Jan Korvink of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, have shown how certain disorders of the hippocampus can initiate a drug resistant epilepsy. The team has discovered biomarkers that – if used for screening – could massively improve treatment options for epilepsy. The researchers have published their results in the onlin...

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...

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.

Suppressing epileptic seizures via Anderson localization

More than 50 million people of all ages suffer from epilepsy, otherwise known as seizure disorder, the fourth most common neurological disease in the world. Patients diagnosed with epilepsy often experience recurrent seizures triggered by the firing of a large collection of neurons in the brain. This ultimately generates a high-energy wave that spreads across the surface of the brain, resulting in numerous physical effects such as erratic body shaking, unconsciousness, exhaustion, and pain.

Study reveals how genetic defects can lead to childhood epilepsy

New King’s College London research reveals how genetic defects can lead to epilepsy in children. In their new study, published in Scientific Reports and funded by Eli Lilly and Co., the researchers set out to understand how genetic defects affect electrical transmission in the brain. Understanding exactly how nerve cells are misfiring and creating seizures in children with epilepsy will allow researchers to design better, more personalised treatments for epilepsy.

Drug Developed Thanks to Zebrafish Epilepsy Research Reaches Clinical Trials

We have been posting about using Zebrafish to model epilepsy treatment since 2013, and about the potential for treatments to be developed from these models. Fast forward to 2017, and we have a viable treatment in clinical trials! Via News Medical: New drug discovered in zebrafish model of pediatric epilepsy shows promising results in clinical study “Bench-to-bedside” describes research that has progressed from basic science in animal models that has led to therapies used in patients. Now, a study in the journal Brain describes what could be considered a direct “aquarium-to-bedside” approach, taking a drug discovered in a genetic zebrafish model of epilepsy and testing it, with promising results, in a small number of children with the disease. The study was supported...

Regulating Sodium Channels in Epilepsy

Over the past few years Sodium Channels have been linked to epilepsy and researchers have focused on this area of research to understand genetic epilepsy. A new study by Northwestern Medicine focused on discovering the genetic causes of irregularities in sodium channels and the potential for regulating them. Via Northwestern Medicine: A new Northwestern Medicine study may help explain why patients with the same epilepsy gene mutation experience different levels of disease severity. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), also reveal new insights into sodium channel regulation and a potential therapeutic target for epilepsy treatment. Christopher Thompson, PhD, research assistant professor of Pharmacology, was the first author of the study, led...

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