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New approach bolsters protein in blood vessels to protect against cerebral malaria

Boosting a protective protein to stabilize blood vessels weakened by malaria showed improved survival beyond that of antimalarial drugs alone in pre-clinical research. Toronto General Research Institute (TGRI) and the Sandra Rotman Centre for Global Health, University of Toronto and University Health Network researchers describe in Science Translational Medicine, 28 September 2016 how their approach bolsters the body’s own capabilities to protect itself against cerebral malaria, rather than solely targeting the malaria parasites in the blood. Over 400,000 lives are lost each year to severe and cerebral malaria, mainly among children in sub-Saharan Africa. For children surviving cerebral malaria, up to one-third may develop long-term neurological injury including epilepsy, behavioural...

UVA researchers begin first clinical trial using focused ultrasound to treat patients with epilepsy

Researchers at the University of Virginia (UVA) are starting the first clinical trial in the world using focused ultrasound to treat patients with epilepsy. The study, supported by the Focused Ultrasound Foundation in collaboration with the Epilepsy Foundation, will assess the feasibility, safety and initial effectiveness of focused ultrasound to non-invasively destroy (ablate) diseased brain tissue that causes seizures. The study is now recruiting up to 15 adult patients with a range of rare deep brain lesions that produce debilitating seizures that often do not respond to medications. It is expected that most patients in the study will have benign tumors in the hypothalamus, which can lead to frequent seizures with outbursts of spontaneous laughing, giggling, crying or grunting; developm...

Researchers propose new explanation for symptoms of fragile X syndrome

  Until recently, scientists thought they understood one of the underlying causes of fragile X syndrome, the most common inherited cause of intellectual disability in the United States. The syndrome, which is associated with autism, was believed to be linked primarily to overactivity in a molecular pathway in the brain. But then, in 2014, two large-scale, multinational clinical trials aimed at treating fragile X by inhibiting that pathway failed.

Study shows continuous electrical stimulation suppresses seizures in patients with epilepsy

When surgery and medication don’t help people with epilepsy, electrical stimulation of the brain has been a treatment of last resort. Unfortunately, typical approaches, such as vagal nerve stimulation or responsive nerve stimulation, rarely stop seizures altogether. But a new Mayo Clinic study in JAMA Neurology shows that seizures were suppressed in patients treated with continuous electrical stimulation. Epilepsy is a central nervous system disorder in which nerve cell activity in the brain becomes disrupted. In the study, 13 patients with drug-resistant epilepsy were deemed unsuitable for resective surgery, which removes a portion of the brain — usually about the size of a golf ball — that was causing seizures. When patients are evaluated for surgery, a grid of electrical contacts ...

Surgery can be cost-effective and beneficial for epilepsy patients, study finds

Research has shown that surgery can provide important benefits for patients with epilepsy. Now a new study finds that it is also cost-effective. In a study of 207 patients with epilepsy who were treated at 15 different centers in France, the proportion of patients who were completely seizure-free during the last 12 months was 69 percent among patients who underwent surgery and 12 percent among patients who received continued medical care during the second year, and it was respectively 77 percent and 21 percent during the fifth year. Direct costs became significantly lower in the surgical group during the third year after surgery, as a result of less antiepileptic drug use. “Surgery became cost-effective between nine and 10 years after surgery and even earlier if indirect costs were t...

Relief for epilepsy at the scale of a single cell

Date: August 23, 2016 Source: Linköping University Summary: Researchers have developed in collaboration with French colleagues a small device that both detects the initial signal of an epileptic attack and doses a substance that effectively stops it. All this takes place where the signal arises — in an area of size 20chr(‘215’)20 μm known as a ‘neural pixel.’ The bioelectronic neural pixel: Chemical stimulation and electrical sensing at the same site Researchers at Linköping University have developed in collaboration with French colleagues a small device that both detects the initial signal of an epileptic attack and doses a substance that effectively stops it. All this takes place where the signal arises — in an area of size 20×20 μm known as a “n...

Researchers Develop A Sensor the Size of Sand

A new sensor built by several campus researchers has far-reaching potential to treat serious conditions such as paraplegia and epilepsy once implanted inside the body — all at the size of a grain of sand. The battery-free, wireless sensor is the first of its kind to record and relay bodily vital signs in real time using ultrasound. Published in the journal Neuron earlier this month, research on the sensor could catalyze advances in medicine by revealing an efficient way to monitor, and eventually control, numerous bodily functions. “The applications are as far as you can imagine — whatever you want to do,” said study co-author Ryan Neely, noting that the technology was originally designed to help paraplegic patients control robotic limbs. READ MORE AT SOURCE: http://www.dailycal.org/2016/0...

UNDERSTANDING THE BRAIN: New technology allows researchers to temporarily shut down brain area to better understand function

Capitalizing on experimental genetic techniques, researchers at the California National Primate Research Center, or CNPRC, at the University of California, Davis, have demonstrated that temporarily turning off an area of the brain changes patterns of activity across much of the remaining brain. The research suggests that alterations in the functional connectivity of the brain in humans may be used to determine the sites of pathology in complex disorders such as schizophrenia and autism.

Using a Virus to Treat Disease

New virus-based method opens wide range of options to treat various diseases The ability to switch disease-causing genes on and off remains a dream for many physicians, research scientists and patients. Research teams from across the world are busy turning this dream into a reality, incuding a team of researchers from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg. Led by Dr. Mazahir T. Hasan, and working under the auspices of the NeuroCure Cluster of Excellence, the team has successfully programmed a virus to transport the necessary genetic material to affected tissue and nerve cells inside the body. A report on their new virus-based method, which delivers instructions to the host genome without becoming part of it, has been publ...

OCD RESEARCH: Genetic Cause Of OCD May Be Discovered

A single chemical receptor in the brain is responsible for a range of symptoms in mice that are reminiscent of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), according to a Duke University study that appears online in the journal Biological Psychiatry. The findings provide a new mechanistic understanding of OCD and other psychiatric disorders and suggest that they are highly amenable to treatment using a class of drugs that has already been investigated in clinical trials. “These new findings are enormously hopeful for considering how to approach neurodevelopmental diseases and behavioral and thought disorders,” said the study’s senior investigator Nicole Calakos, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor of neurology and neurobiology at the Duke University Medical Center.

TBI: Athletes may experience long-term brain changes after sports-related concussion

New research finds white matter changes in the brains of athletes six months after a concussion. The study will be presented at the Sports Concussion Conference in Chicago, July 8-10, hosted by the American Academy of Neurology, the world’s leading authority on the diagnosis and management of sports-related concussion. The conference brings together leading experts in the field to present and discuss the latest scientific advances in diagnosing and treating sports-related concussion. The study involved 17 high school and college football players who experienced a sports-related concussion. The participants underwent MRI brain scans and were assessed for concussion symptoms, balance problems, and cognitive impairment, or memory and thinking problems, at 24 hours, eight days and six mo...

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/).

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