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absence seizures

Understanding absence epilepsy

Research by Cardiff University has uncovered the brain activity that underlies absence epilepsy, offering new hope for the development of innovative therapies for this disabling disease. Absence epilepsy – the most common form of epilepsy in children and teenagers – causes episodes of lack of awareness which are often mistaken for daydreaming. The brain activity that causes this form of epilepsy has remained poorly understood, until recent research has observed this activity for the first time. An international team of researchers led by Professor Vincenzo Crunelli, from Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences, investigated the types of electrical activity that occurred in the brains of mice during an absence seizure. Professor Crunelli said: “Although the origin of absence epilepsy rem...

Childhood Absence Epilepsy: 5 Things You Need to Know

Childhood absence epilepsy (CAE), a syndrome that occurs in 1 out of 1000 children, is one of the most common types of early childhood (first decade) seizures. A classic CAE scenario may be that of a little girl who has just started kindergarten and has periods of “blanking out” every day. Her teacher calls out her name, but she does not respond. She sometimes blinks her eyes a few times and is back to “normal” in about 20 seconds. The teacher alerts the parents, who then make an appointment to see the pediatrician. Typically, the parents report never noticing these episodes at home.

Study finds genetic basis for drug response in childhood absence epilepsy

Consider two children who have childhood absence epilepsy (CAE), the most common form of pediatric epilepsy. They both take the same drug—one child sees an improvement in their seizures, but the other does not. A new study in the Annals of Neurology identified the genes that may underlie this difference in treatment outcomes, suggesting there may be potential for using a precision medicine approach to help predict which drugs will be most effective to help children with CAE. The study was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), both part of the National Institutes of Health. “A better understanding of genetic factors underlying a disease and the way t...

New Epilepsy Tactic: Fight Inflammation

In November 2008, when he was just 6, William Moller had his first epileptic seizure, during a reading class at school. For about 20 seconds, he simply froze in place, as if someone had pressed a pause button. He could not respond to his teacher. This is known as an absence seizure, and over the next year William, now 10, who lives with his family in Brooklyn, went from having one or two a day to suffering constant seizures. Not all were absence seizures; others were frightening tonic-clonics, also known as grand mals, during which he lost consciousness and convulsed. The seizures often came while he was eating. As his body went rigid, William dropped his food and his eyes rolled back into their sockets. If he seized while standing, he suddenly crashed to the ground — in a corridor, in the...

A promising new drug developed by a Canadian research team may be able to completely suppress childhood absence seizures!

Research could prove groundbreaking for treating epilepsy in children It can look as if a child is simply in a daze, awake but daydreaming. Yet inside their brain, a flurry of high-frequency signals is firing from neurons resulting in a so-called absence seizure. A Canadian-led research team has developed a new drug that completely suppresses absence seizures in rats, and could have groundbreaking effects on the treatment of epilepsy in children. The findings were published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed science journal Science Translational Medicine. The team began testing the drug on humans in December and expects to finish the first phase of clinical trials later this year, said neuroscientist Terry Snutch, the senior author of the study.