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Neurology

Insight without incision: Advances in noninvasive brain imaging offers improvements to epilepsy surgery

About a third of epilepsy sufferers require treatment through surgery. To check for severe epilepsy, clinicians use a surgical procedure called electrocorticography (ECoG). An ECoG maps a section of brain tissue to help clinicians identify areas damaged by seizures. “But ECoG requires taking a part of your skull out and putting electrodes directly on brain tissue,” said Professor Pulkit Grover, a professor in Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. An ECoG thus leaves a patient prone to infection. To find an alternative to ECoG, Grover’s team investigated making the non-invasive electroencephalogram (EEG) more effective by increasing electrode density and improving inference algorithms. He and the team recently presented their...

Study: Protein found to be key component in irregularly excited brain cells

In a new study in mice, researchers have identified a key protein involved in the irregular brain cell activity seen in autism spectrum disorders and epilepsy. The protein, p53, is well-known in cancer biology as a tumor suppressor. The findings, reported in the journal Human Molecular Genetics, will open new avenues for understanding the factors that contribute to these developmental disabilities, said Nien-Pei Tsai, a University of Illinois professor of molecular and integrative physiology who led the new research. “Under physiologically normal circumstances, neurons are able to readjust their excitability: the strength at which neurons are firing,” Tsai said. “But in autism spectrum disorders, such as Fragile X syndrome, and in epilepsy, you see higher levels of excita...

Stem cell discovery could aid in developing treatments to control epileptic convulsions

A new line of human stem cells shows promise for one day advancing treatment for epileptic seizures. As reported in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine (SCTM), the cells are designed to deliver adenosine – which calms down overexcited neurons and protects them from damage — to the central nervous system (CNS). The research was conducted by scientists at the University of Bonn and the Central Institute of Mental Health (CIMH) in Mannheim. Adenosine is a powerful regulator that helps the body maintain its inner balance. When an injury occurs to the CNS, it releases high levels of adenosine, which calms down the overexcited neurons and alleviates neurological damage caused by stroke, trauma, reduced oxygen, pain and, in particular, epileptic seizures. “But attempts to systemically deliver adeno...

Medical cannabis for epilepsy approved in FDA first

In the context of an ever-louder international debate on whether patients with severe forms of epilepsy should be allowed to use medical cannabis to manage their condition, the Food and Drug Administration have just officially approved one such drug.   The Food and Drug Administration have just approved a cannabis-based drug for the first time.  

What is a pseudoseizure?

Pseudoseizures, also called psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES), are seizures that occur as a result of psychological causes, such as severe mental stress.   Treating the underlying psychological cause can often help to reduce the number of seizures or prevent them happening.   It is easy to misdiagnose the condition as the symptoms are very similar to those of epilepsy, but this will result in the wrong treatment approach.   In this article, learn more about the causes and symptoms of pseudoseizures, as well as the treatment options.

Adjunctive Everolimus Reduces Seizure Frequency in Tuberous Sclerosis

Adjunctive everolimus therapy is safe and effective for reducing the frequency of seizures in pediatric patients with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), according to a post-hoc analysis of a phase 3, prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the May 23 online edition of The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.   Epileptic seizures in TSC are difficult to treat, because most patients become treatment refractory. Typically, the onset of epilepsy occurs during infancy and early childhood, which makes treatment decisions difficult.

Research reveals underappreciated role of brainstem in epilepsy

New research from Vanderbilt suggests that repeated seizures reduce brainstem connectivity, a possible contributor to unexplained neurocognitive problems in epilepsy patients. The brainstem has been rarely studied in epilepsy because seizures typically originate in the temporal lobe or other areas of the cortex. Noting that people with temporal lobe epilepsy often lose consciousness even though the temporal lobe does not control wakefulness, Dario Englot, MD, Ph.D., surgical director of epilepsy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said he decided to focus on the region that does control wakefulness—the brainstem. He hypothesized that connectivity disruptions with the brainstem resulting from a history of seizures might play a role in diminished cognitive functions that are not related...

Prediction method for epileptic seizures developed

Epileptic seizures strike with little warning and nearly one third of people living with epilepsy are resistant to treatment that controls these attacks. More than 65 million people worldwide are living with epilepsy.

Personalizing therapeutic brain stimulation

Research could inform development of individualized stimulation protocols for neuropsychiatric disorders   A study of epilepsy patients with implanted electrodes provides an unprecedented view of the changes in brain activity created by electrical stimulation. These findings, published in JNeurosci, have the potential to improve noninvasive stimulation approaches toward the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders.   Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is increasingly used in patients with disorders such as depression that do not respond well to medication or psychotherapy. Although the effects of stimulation on the motor cortex have been characterized in animal models and humans, its effects on other brain areas — including the prefrontal cortex, the target ...

Researchers discover novel mode of neurotransmitter-based communication

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine have discovered the first example of a novel mode of neurotransmitter-based communication. The discovery, published in Nature Communications, challenges current dogma about mechanisms of signaling in the brain, and uncovers new pathways for developing therapies for disorders like epilepsy, anxiety and chronic pain.

Mechanism underlying malformation associated with severe epilepsy is revealed

Study suggests dysregulation of gene NEUROG2 could be linked to development of focal cortical dysplasia, one of the most common causes of drug-resistant epilepsy   One of the most frequent causes of drug-resistant epilepsy, considered a difficult disease to control, is a brain malformation known as focal cortical dysplasia.   Patients with this problem present with discreet disorganization in the architecture of a specific region of the cortex, which may or may not be associated with the presence of nerve cells that have structural and functional abnormalities.

Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Treatment Commences Clinical Trial Recruitment

This week, AMO Pharma Limited announced the commencement of patient recruitment for an interventional study of AMO-01, an investigational Ras-ERK pathway inhibitor for the treatment of Phelan-McDermid syndrome (PMS).   “Treatment of Phelan-McDermid syndrome represents a significant area of unmet need in healthcare, and AMO Pharma is grateful to the research team at Mt. Sinai as well as the Phelan McDermid Syndrome Foundation for their commitment to this landmark research effort,” said Michael Snape, PhD, CEO of AMO Pharma. “Research thus far indicates that AMO-01 could have important applications in the treatment of patients living with Phelan-McDermid syndrome in the years ahead.”