Brain science; genetics

New hope for the treatment of intractable epilepsy

Posted 7 May 2018 in Brain science; genetics / Other treatments

Although the majority of people diagnosed with epilepsy will have their seizures controlled with medication a significant number of people will not respond satisfactorily to any current treatment.  We know that many seizures in severe forms of epilepsy originate in the hippocampus of the brain. Researchers from Lund University in Sweden have shown that they were able to reduce seizures read more

Subtle differences found in the brains of people diagnosed with epilepsy

Posted 31 Jan 2018 in Brain science; genetics

New research led by University College London Hospital (UCLH) and the Keck School of Medicine of USC has identified physical differences in the brains of those with epilepsy, compared to those who do not have the condition.   In the largest ever neuro-imaging study of people with epilepsy, the researchers found that the brains of those with epilepsy exhibited a reduction read more

The link between CLOCK and epilepsy

Posted 16 Oct 2017 in Brain science; genetics

A Lack of a protein called ‘CLOCK’, which (unsurprisingly) helps to set our body clock, may play a role in some types of epilepsy. Within our cells are microscopic ‘clocks’ that influence a number of factors, e.g. hunger and sleepiness (see image below). They can also detect when the days are getting longer or shorter and generate seasonal changes. CLOCK read more

Exciting data about seizure spread

Posted 20 Sep 2017 in Brain science; genetics

New findings from the Universities of Twente (in the Netherlands) and Chicago have shown that even focal seizures can have ‘long-distance’ effects. Click here for a summary of the research, written by The work is published in the scientific journal, PNAS. ERUK Fellow, Dr Rob Wykes, at University College London, is looking at how brain cells behave before, during read more

Common parasite linked to epilepsy and other brain disorders

Posted 15 Sep 2017 in Brain science; genetics

Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) is a very common parasite that is often associated with cats and is thought to cause very few symptoms and no serious effects in humans. However, research led by the University of Chicago has now shown that it might, in fact, play a role in the development of epilepsy and other brain disorders. The findings are published read more

Temporal lobe epilepsy: a step closer to more effective treatments

Posted 13 Sep 2017 in Brain science; genetics

“I’m still uncontrolled. It completely changes your life. I now can no longer work and have issues getting out because of the unpredictability.” ERUK supporter experience of living with uncontrolled epilepsy. Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is the most common form of epilepsy in adults, and it is often associated with scarring of an important memory structure called the hippocampus. This read more

Using maths to detect the source of seizures

Posted 25 Aug 2017 in Brain science; genetics

Researchers in Exeter are using mathematics to identify the areas of the brain that contribute most to epileptic seizures. Their approach could significantly improve the success rate of epilepsy surgery. This work is published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology. A bit of background People who are about to have epilepsy surgery often require an invasive procedure called an intracranial EEG read more

Study supports genetic testing for newborns with epilepsy

Research at the University of Michigan suggests that most cases of newborn epilepsy have an identifiable genetic cause and that genetic testing for all newborns with epilepsy should be considered. Knowing the genetic cause of epilepsy not only guides treatment (offering the chance of a better prognosis), it gives parents and families peace of mind. It also means that parents read more

Study supports genetic testing for childhood epilepsy

A brand new review, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, supports the routine use of genetic testing for early-onset epilepsy. If applied across the board, this could make diagnosis and treatment a lot more effective, and provide important information for family planning. The online site has shared a summary of the work, which you can click here to read. Do return for read more

An exciting breakthrough for epilepsy diagnosis

Posted 21 Jul 2017 in Brain science; genetics

What would it mean if epilepsy could be diagnosed much earlier? More rapid treatment and fewer tests for sure, but it could also help reduce the incredible angst, frustration and general disruption that people often face whilst waiting for a diagnosis. Researchers at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) have discovered that complex cellular process in epileptic brain tissue leave read more

GeneLoop: Gene therapy activated by seizures to treat epilepsy – a new ERUK funded Fellowship

Gene therapy, in which the excitability of neurons is reduced via gene modification, holds promise as a treatment for drug-resistant focal epilepsy, and it could feasibly replace epilepsy surgery in the future. However, experimental gene therapies have revealed significant flaws in that they either a) have a permanent effect on neurons or b) require ‘re-administration’ each time a seizure occurs. read more

Is a micro-gene a factor in epileptic seizures?

Posted 19 Jun 2017 in Brain science; genetics

Seizures in epilepsy can be caused by genetic factors or they can be triggered by injury.  While we know that all brains are capable of generating seizures we do not know why some brains do not develop them.  A good example is epilepsy that develops as a result of an ischemic stroke.  Only some of the people who have an read more

The Hippocampus: What is it?

Posted 7 Jun 2017 in Brain science; genetics

When learning about the human brain, it’s helpful to remember that even the most powerful computer in the world is no match for this part of the human body. With its billions of nerve cells, and the thousands and thousands of connections each nerve cell makes, the brain gives new meaning to the word “complex.” There is much that scientists read more

What is Deep Brain Stimulation

Posted 5 Jun 2017 in Brain science; genetics / Other treatments

  Deep Brain Stimulation therapy (DBS) is one of the techniques that a lot of people are talking about, but what does it do? Is it for everyone? And how far along is the research into epilepsy ? Overview DBS is a surgical procedure (an operation).  It involves implanting an electrode into the brain and a  ‘neurostimulator’ into the chest.. read more

Scientists link more than 100 genes to memory

Posted 1 Jun 2017 in Brain science; genetics

A US study has identified over 100 genes linked to memory, which will help scientists better understand memory function and develop new strategies to treat memory impairment. The findings are published in the journal Cerebral Cortex. These results are particularly relevant to people with epilepsy, whose lives are often significantly affected by memory problems. The research expanded on previous work read more

Preventing damage caused by status epilepticus

Posted 23 May 2017 in Brain science; genetics

A new intranasal spray could prevent damage caused by status epilepticus, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Status epilepticus (SE) is a prolonged seizure (lasting more than five minutes) that requires urgent treatment and hospital admission. If not ended quickly, just one episode can lead to neuronal death, cognitive impairment and memory loss, read more

Improving drug therapies through more effective targeting

New research from the University of Liverpool, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, has identified a protein that could help patients with epilepsy respond more positively to drug therapies. There is now increasing body of evidence showing that local inflammation in the brain may be important in preventing control of seizures. Inflammation refers to the process by which the read more

Why do some images cause seizures while others do not?

A new study has investigated why it is that some images can cause seizures in people with photosensitive epilepsy while other images don’t. We know that in people with photosensitive epilepsy, flashing lights can cause seizures. The impact of such provocative visuals can be quite staggering. In 1997, for example, a certain Pokémon episode triggered seizures in 685 people in read more

Computer technology increasingly important in study of epilepsy

Posted 5 May 2017 in Brain science; genetics / Other treatments

Two recently published studies show just how important the use of computer technology and modelling have become in the study of epilepsy. A study being carried out at Newcastle University is using a brain model to explore the cause of different epileptic seizure onset patterns. According to the study, at the onset of an epileptic seizure, differing characteristics of brain read more

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