Brain science; genetics

Neuro Chip Could Help Scientists Identify Drugs that Work Best to Treat Epilepsy

Posted 27 Oct 2016 in Brain science; genetics

Researchers at the University of Calgary, in Canada, have developed a neuro chip that enables long-term, high fidelity recordings from brain cells at a resolution 15 times higher than existing setups. According to Pierre Wijdenes and the co-authors of the study, which is published in the journal, Scientific Reports, this new technology could help better understand brain function and offers great opportunities, read more

Distinct Brain Activity in Between Seizures Can Affect Thinking Ability in Adults with Epilepsy

Posted 20 Oct 2016 in Brain science; genetics

Interictal epileptiform discharges (IEDs) – distinct patterns of brain activity that happen in between epileptic seizures – are associated with poorer cognitive performance (thinking ability) in adults with epilepsy, according to a study published in the scientific journal, Epilepsy Research. Therefore, reducing IEDs could improve cognitive performance and have positive effects on the quality of life of people with epilepsy. The study, read more

The Generation of Epileptiform Discharges May Not Be Random and May Be Controlled by Biological Clocks

Posted 19 Oct 2016 in Brain science; genetics

A study published in the journal, Epilepsy and Behavior, suggests that the generation of epileptiform discharges (EDs – distinct patterns of brain activity that can arise in between epileptic seizures) is not a random process but the result of complex interactions controlling sleep-wake cycles. It also highlights that the majority of EDs may, in fact, occur during sleep. On the basis of their read more

Analysis of Genetic Variations Could Help Develop New Therapies for Epilepsy

Posted 10 Oct 2016 in Brain science; genetics

A new study, published in the  American Journal of Human Genetics, sheds light onto how variations in genes can influence the activity of important proteins in the brain and may lead to neurological disorders. The study focused on two genes called GRIN2A and GRIN2B, which are linked to epilepsy, intellectual disability and a number of other neurological conditions. These genes encode for two read more

Newly Identified Biomarker Could Predict the Onset and Progression of Epileptic Seizures

Posted 6 Oct 2016 in Brain science; genetics

Researchers at the University of Colorado have identified a new biomarker that could predict the onset and progression of seizures associated with epilepsy. Biomarkers are substances found in the blood or urine that can indicate a biological state or a medical condition. They are invaluable in helping clinicians diagnose or predict the progression of a condition and measure how well read more

Molecule Involved in Memory and Learning Could Be Key in Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

Posted 29 Sep 2016 in Brain science; genetics

A new study, conducted by researchers at Duke University and the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, could shed light on how certain types of epilepsy develop in the brain. This in turn could help scientists find new approaches to treat the condition. The study is published in the leading scientific journal, Nature. Co-Senior Author, Dr James McNamara, at Duke University, read more

500 year-old Genetic Mutation May Be Responsible for EAST Syndrome

Posted 29 Sep 2016 in Brain science; genetics

EAST syndrome is a genetic condition that includes epilepsy, lack of voluntary muscle coordination including gait abnormality, deafness caused by hearing nerve problems and salt loss caused by kidney problems. It can result from a number of changes (mutations) in a gene called KCNJ10, which encodes a type of potassium ion channel. The mutations cause the channels to lose their function. Although there are 14 different mutations associated read more

Increasing the Levels of Certain Fats in the Brain Could Suppress Epileptic Seizures

Posted 27 Sep 2016 in Brain science; genetics

Increasing the levels of certain fat molecules in the brain could suppress epileptic seizures, according to a new ground-breaking study carried out by two collaborating groups in Belgium. The work is published in the leading scientific journal, Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. The team focused their efforts on a protein called TBC1D24, since mutations in the gene that encodes it cause severe epilepsy. read more

New gene for severe childhood epilepsies

Posted 22 Sep 2016 in Brain science; genetics

A panel of international researchers has discovered that mutations in a gene called GRIN2D could cause severe epileptic encephalopathy. GRIN2D is part of a gene family containing the information necessary to make proteins called NMDARs. These are ion channels found on the surface of nerve cells, and they play an important role in electrical signalling between them. Mutations in NMDAR proteins are already known read more

Scientists Develop New Non-invasive Method to Record Brain Activity

Posted 15 Sep 2016 in Brain science; genetics

Scientists in Canada, Germany and Iran have discovered a new way to monitor brainwaves associated with epilepsy in a non-invasive way. This discovery could improve the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy. The work is published in the scientific journal, Neuroscience. First Author Zoya Bastany, a masters student at the University of British Columbia, comments: “Using this method, we found that the electrical signals read more

Machine Learning Could Help The Diagnosis of Drug-Resistant Epilepsy

Posted 13 Sep 2016 in Brain science; genetics

‘Machine learning’, a type of computer modelling, can detect areas of brain damage (lesions) associated with drug-resistant epilepsy. This is according to a new study published in the scientific journal PLOS One. During the study, researchers led by Dr Carole Lartizien, from the University of Lyon, developed a complex system that is able learn features associated with healthy brain MRI scans. It can then read more

New Computer Model May Explain Spread of Seizures in the Brain

Posted 11 Sep 2016 in Brain science; genetics

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have developed a new computer model that may explain why some seizures spread throughout the brain whilst others stay localized. The seizure networks model, which the scientists developed using direct recordings from the brain of people with epilepsy, proposes that, whereas some regions in the brain promote seizure activity, others dampen it. The leader of the read more

3D Structure of Brain Receptor Could Help Develop Better Epilepsy Drugs

Posted 9 Sep 2016 in Brain science; genetics

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have described, in detail, the structure and function of a type of receptor called the AMPA receptor. This plays an important role in the activation of neurons, but in epilepsy it contributes to seizure spread. Currently there is only one approved drug, known as perampanel, that inhibits AMPA receptors to try and stop seizures. However, because read more

An Important breakthrough for infantile epilepsies

Posted 7 Sep 2016 in Brain science; genetics

Scientists at the University of Queensland have made an important discovery about severe infantile epilepsies, which, unexpectedly, links to Parkinson’s disease. The results are published in the Journal of Cell Biology. According to Professor Frédéric Meunier, Senior Author on the study, this discovery could open new avenues for the development of different classes of drugs to treat epilepsy. In a press release, Dr Emma read more

A Possible Explanation as to Why Some Children Outgrow Epilepsy in Adolescence

Posted 30 Aug 2016 in Brain science; genetics

Results from the US and China may help to explain why 50-60% of children with epilepsy outgrow their condition in adolescence. At the heart of these findings is ‘GABA’; a brain chemical that acts via structures called receptors to dampen down electrical activity in neurons (and prevent them from becoming over-excited). Recent evidence shows that there is a specific type of GABA read more

Prolonged status epilepticus is linked to brain wasting

Posted 17 Aug 2016 in Brain science; genetics

Brain atrophy, or wasting, and re-organisation of neurons occur in the brains of people with super-refractory status epilepticus (SRSE), according to a study published in JAMA Neurology. The research also shows that the severity of brain atrophy is related to the duration of SRSE. This is the first study to show that brain atrophy occurs even after difficult-to-treat status epilepticus is controlled with anaesthetic drugs. read more

An exciting advance for the study of epilepsy

Posted 11 Aug 2016 in Brain science; genetics

Researchers in Singapore have improved the production high quality, functional human inhibitory (‘GABAergic’) neurons in the laboratory, according to a study published in the leading journal Cell. These neurons can now be used to develop models to study epilepsy, as well as other neurological conditions. They can also be used to screen the effects of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) without the need to read more

Dystrophin Protein may be a Potential Treatment Target for Epilepsy

Posted 9 Aug 2016 in Brain science; genetics

The hippocampal form of an essential muscle protein called dystrophin is found in higher levels in people with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), according to a new study published in the scientific journal Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience. This could be the result of a compensatory mechanism – in response to too much excitation in the brain (hyperexcitation) – that tries to restore the read more

Eye Movements Could be Used as a Measure of Epilepsy Progression

Posted 8 Aug 2016 in Brain science; genetics

Research published in the scientific journal PLOS One suggests that children with epilepsy have irregularities in their pattern of saccadic eye movement. This refers to the fast, jerking movement of the eyes that allows people to scan their environment and build a mental 3D image of it. According to the authors of the study, these irregularities may be indicative of abnormal read more

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