Genetic studies ‘are revolutionising epilepsy treatment’

A graphic representing two DNA strands

Continued studies of the genetic causes of epilepsy are helping to revolutionise the way the condition is treated, according to a new study.

Led by Professor Ingrid Scheffer at the University of Melbourne, the Neuropediatrics-published paper has analysed the impact of epilepsy genetics studies on clinical practice in the last 19 years.

It noted that scientists are now able to track mutations of genes such as DEPDC5, which can cause changes in cortical development that influence the onset of epilepsy, with the list of causative genes gradually expanding all the time.

These new insights are leading to the development of new therapies, while also helping researchers better understand the genetic links between nonlesional epilepsy and forms of condition associated with cortical malformations.

The researchers concluded: “Epilepsy genetics is changing clinical practice enabling diagnosis in many patients, informing our understanding of comorbidities, prognosis and genetic counselling.”

It is hoped that such research will deliver new treatment approaches for a condition that currently affects around one in every 103 people in the UK.

Posted by Anne Brown