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Epilepsy Research

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...

Protein Found In Worms Helps To Stop Seizure Activity

Exciting new research that involves using a protein in worms to suppress seizures, could spell hope in the future for thousands of people with epilepsy. Scientists at University College London (UCL) have used a chemical found in worms to reduce seizure activity in  the brains of epileptic rats. The chemical produces a protein that quietens down brain activity when glutamate levels build up causing neuronal excitement in the brain. The chemical is delivered into the brain by injecting it through the skull inside a harmless virus. Using a technique called gene therapy, this enables the worm DNA to spread throughout the brain. Great hope for the future Epilepsy Society’s medical director Professor Ley Sander described the new technique as very promising but cautioned that there was stil...

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...

How a Fish Lights Up Could Lead to New Treatments for Epilepsy

The Brienomyrus brachyistius, a fish commonly referred to as baby whales, uses electrical charges to communicate with and sense the world around them. Understanding how these African fish create electrical discharges could help researchers find new treatments for epilepsy. Photo Credit: Univ. of Michigan “Nerve impulses typically last one millisecond, but the baby whale and other related weakly electric fish make extremely brief discharges of less than a few tenths of a millisecond. That means that the ion channels of their electric organs must open and close especially rapidly. By studying the molecular structure and biophysical properties of the ion channels of their electric organ we are discovering how their channels evolved these exceptional properties. This gives us insights in...

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.

‘Missing mutation’ found in severe infant epilepsy

CHOP Researchers: Findings may pave way for early protective treatments Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia   Researchers have discovered a “missing mutation” in severe infant epilepsy–long-suspected genetic changes that might trigger overactive, brain-damaging electrical signaling leading to seizures They also found early indications that specific anti-seizure medications might prevent disabling brain injury by controlling epilepsy during a crucial period shortly after birth.

Biologists discover link between protein in brain, seizure suppression

Seizure suppression is the focus of an original research article by two members of the Department of Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences—and they have the pictures to prove it.   James Hewett, associate professor of biology, and Yifan Gong, a Ph.D. candidate in biology and neuroscience, have co-authored an article about a protein in the brain called T-cell intracellular antigen-1 (TIA-1). Their article recently made the cover of the prestigious journal Neuroscience.

Immune Response May Contribute to Pediatric Epilepsy

Irregular concentrations of T-cells in the brain contribute to the development of seizures in pediatric epilepsy, according to a Northwestern Medicine study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.   The experiments suggest anti-inflammatory drugs should be considered for therapy, in addition to the anti-seizure drugs that are typically prescribed, according to Stephen D. Miller, PhD, the Judy Gugenheim Research Professor of Microbiology-Immunology and the senior author of the study.

UC granted $1.75 million to develop potential cures for acquired epilepsy

University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center Research scientist Jianxiong Jiang, PhD, doesn’t just want to treat acquired epilepsy…he hopes to prevent it. “Epilepsy is a common neurological condition that afflicts nearly three million Americans and 50 to 60 million people globally. The disease is featured by epileptic seizures due to unusual hypersynchronization and hyperexcitability of a group of brain neurons,” says Jiang, an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati (UC) James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy.

Epilepsy study links mossy brain cells to seizures and memory loss

NIH-funded study in mice suggests loss of mossy cells plays a critical role in both. New findings in a study of mice suggest that a loss of mossy cells may contribute to seizures and memory problems in a form of epilepsy.Ivan Soltesz, Ph.D., Stanford University.   A small group of cells in the brain can have a big effect on seizures and memory in a mouse model of epilepsy. According to a new study in Science, loss of mossy cells may contribute to convulsive seizures in temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) as well as memory problems often experienced by people with the disease. The study was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Monthly brain cycles predict seizures in patients with epilepsy

Implanted electrodes reveal long-term patterns of seizure risk.   University of California San Francisco neurologists have discovered monthly cycles of brain activity linked to seizures in patients with epilepsy. The finding, published online January 8 in Nature Communications, suggests it may soon be possible for clinicians to identify when patients are at highest risk for seizures, allowing patients to plan around these brief but potentially dangerous events.