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Epilepsy: New findings ‘could change textbooks’

New research finds that two key brain proteins are involved in the neuronal misfiring that characterizes epilepsy. The findings “could potentially change textbooks” on epilepsy, according to the researchers, as well as pave the way for new therapies. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimate that 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, making it one of the most widespread neurological conditions in the world. In the United States, 3.4 million people — or 1.2 percent of the population — live with the condition.

Spider venom strikes a blow against childhood epilepsy

A devastating form of childhood epilepsy that is resistant to traditional drugs may have met its match in spider venom. Researchers from The University of Queensland and the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health discovered that a peptide in spider venom can restore the neural deficiencies that trigger seizures associated with Dravet syndrome. UQ Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) Professor Glenn King said the study in mice could be an important step towards better therapeutic strategies for the rare and life-threatening type of epilepsy developed by children in their first year of life.

Rewiring the brain to fight epilepsy

Biologist Suzanne Paradis’ lab suppressed seizures in mice by changing the connections between neurons. Researchers in the lab of Associate Professor of Biology Suzanne Paradis have discovered a novel treatment for reducing seizure activity in the brains of rodents, a discovery they hope might one day help people living with epilepsy. An estimated 2.2 million Americans suffer from epilepsy and 20 to 30 percent of these individuals live with seizures that do not respond to current medications. Photo: Mike Lovett Suzanne Paradis

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.

First Guideline on Presurgical Brain Mapping for Epilepsy

The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) has released the first evidence-based guideline comparing procedures used for determining brain lateralization prior to epilepsy surgery and for predicting post-surgical language and memory deficits.

Puzzle of Impaired Consciousness in Absence Epilepsy Solved?

Intense abnormal activity in well-known brain networks that occurs early in a seizure may be the key to impaired consciousness in children with absence epilepsy, new research suggests.

Neuroscientists uncover how the brain retunes to pull meaning out of noisy environment

When you’re suddenly able to understand someone despite their thick accent, or finally make out the lyrics of a song, your brain appears to be re-tuning to recognize speech that was previously incomprehensible.

Fasting May Help to Prevent Seizures by Calming Nervous System, Early Study Suggests

Reducing calorie intake, or fasting, may help decrease the frequency of seizures in people with epilepsy by calming overexcited neurons in the brain, early research suggests. “Our findings suggest that one of the reasons that fasting is beneficial is that it gives the nervous system a break,” Pejmun Haghighi, PhD, the study’ senior author, said in a press release. The study, “Acute Fasting Regulates Retrograde Synaptic Enhancement through a 4E-BP-Dependent Mechanism,” was published in the December issue of the journal Neuron.

Study improves molecular understanding of the brain in people with epilepsy

Neural stem cells have been found in epileptic brain tissue—outside the regions of the brain where they normally reside. In a group of patients who underwent surgery for epilepsy, over half had stem cells where healthy individuals do not have them, according to a study from Sahlgrenska Academy.

Research at Stanford locates absence epilepsy seizure ‘choke point’ in brain

A particular structure in the brain is a “choke point” for a type of epileptic seizure that affects mostly children, Stanford University School of Medicine investigators have found. The researchers used an advanced technology called optogenetics to show, in rodent models of one of the most common forms of childhood epilepsy, that inducing synchronized, rhythmic activity in a specific nerve tract within this structure is sufficient to cause seizures, while disrupting that activity is sufficient to terminate them.

A strategy for efficiently converting stem cells to neurons offers a potent neurological research tool

Neurological disorders are especially challenging to study in the laboratory, in part because of limited access to fully functional human neurons. Now, a powerful technique for reliably producing a subset of neurons involved with common neurological disorders has been developed by a team of Singaporean researchers led by Hyunsoo Je of the DUKE-NUS Medical School.

Comorbidities Common Even in Newly Diagnosed Epilepsy

Co-morbidities in a Hong Kong Cohort People with epilepsy have a higher prevalence of psychiatric and medical comorbid conditions than the general population. Now a recent review of patients with newly diagnosed and treated epilepsy admitted to Hong Kong hospitals has revealed that even patients without a long history of epilepsy have increased morbidity and mortality.