Below are the most recent news stories about epilepsy from Epilepsy Research UK and from around the world. You can choose different categories from the side bar on the left (for details of grants made prior to 2012, please visit our research portfolio). You can also catch up with Epilepsy Research UK's fundraising and research news in our supporter newsletters.

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Background Optogenetics is an experimental technique that uses weakened viruses to incorporate light-sensitive proteins into neurons. These proteins – known as opsins – are usually ion channels, and their role is to transport specific metal ions into and out of neurons, creating an electrical current (in this case known as a photocurrent because it is triggered by light). Opsins can read more

Background When something piques our interest or we are expecting something, unique wave patterns called gamma oscillations pass through our brains. These oscillations are believed to play a role in higher-level functions (although their precise role is not clear), and their disturbance has been seen in epilepsy, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and autism. Within the brain are billions of cells known read more

Background Ketogenic diet therapies that are high in fat and low in carbohydrate have been used in the treatment of drug-resistant childhood epilepsy for almost a century. Approximately 40% of children show a 50% or more decrease in seizure frequency after three months following the diet, and the most common side effects are gastrointestinal (and are usually addressed with adjustments read more

A study has underlined the potential benefits offered by the antiepileptic drug eslicarbazepine acetate (ESL). Appearing in the journal Epilepsy Research, the Spain-based ESLIBASE retrospective study aimed to evaluate the long-term efficacy and safety of ESL in patients with focal seizures over a period of one year. In total, 327 patients were included in the study, with 78 per cent read more

A new study has highlighted the potential risks of using responsiveness to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) as a means of differentiating epilepsy from psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES). Researchers from the University of Sao Paulo have reviewed the medical records of 102 patients with PNES to assess their responses to AEDs, in order to see how this affected their diagnoses. Currently, a read more

A new study has underlined the potential benefits that juvenile absence epilepsy patients can experience through treatment with zonisamide. The French study from the Hopital Gui de Chauliac and the Centre Saint Paul-H Gastaut involved 13 patients who were successively treated with add-on zonisamide between 2006 and 2010. Safety and efficacy assessments were based on patient and caregiver reports taken read more

Analysis of panic attack symptoms could represent a new method of differentiating between epileptic and non-epileptic seizures. Currently, psychogenic non-epileptic spells (PNES) are challenging to differentiate from epileptic seizures, but a new retrospective analysis of 354 patients diagnosed with PNES from the University of Pittsburgh has suggested that panic attacks could hold the key. A statistically higher mean number of read more

New research from Germany has offered a fresh insight into the impact that stereotactic interstitial radiosurgery can have on memory in patients being treated for epilepsy due to hypothalamic hamartomas. Resective surgical approaches show promise for people with this uncommon form of epilepsy, which is otherwise difficult to treat with medication. However, since hypothalamic hamartomas tend to be located near read more

A new study has highlighted the need for additional research into second-line treatment options for acute generalised convulsive status epilepticus (GCSE). Researchers from the University of Virginia have examined data from 177 GCSE cases to determine the current state of practice of treatment for acute GCSE and trends pertaining to responsiveness to therapy. Results published in the journal Epilepsy & read more

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