Researchers in Ireland are looking to develop a blood test for epilepsy.

David Henshall is a professor of molecular physiology and neuroscience at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). He and his team have been studying molecules in the blood that might identify if a person has epilepsy.

Prof Henshall leads the EpimiRNA consortium, which aims to gather data and improve treatment for epilepsy.

The consortium team studied molecules, known as micro RNA, in the blood. They carried out research comparing the levels of these molecules in blood samples of people with and without epilepsy. They found that one type of micro RNA was always different in the blood samples of people with epilepsy.

Prof Henshall has explained that developing a blood test for epilepsy can help simplify diagnosis. He said that doctors don’t often get to see a seizure when they see a patient. An EEG is used to check the electrical activity in the brain, he added. But he said the results from this can sometimes be misleading and a better test is needed.

Reports say that the team is now working to create a device that can detect these miRNA molecules. They are aiming to create a simple finger-prick test that could be available within five years.

There is more information on the EpimiRNA website.

Source: Epilepsy Action