Epilepsy and its causes

Genetic epilepsies respond to epilepsy surgery in different ways

Technological advances in recent years mean that it is now easier, and considerably cheaper, to test people with epilepsy for underlying genetic causes. As a result of this, scientists have been able to uncover new genetic abnormalities linked to epilepsy. If scientists can understand the causes of a person’s epilepsy, they may be able to provide improved epilepsy treatments. This read more

Implant in brain detects, stops and prevents seizures

Researchers led by the University of Cambridge have successfully used an implanted device in the brain to detect, stop and prevent epileptic seizures in an animal model. When the first signals of a seizure were detected, the device delivered a naturally occurring brain chemical (a neurotransmitter) which stopped the seizure from progressing. There are many different types of epileptic seizure read more

Tailoring treatment for Early Infant Epileptic Encephalopathy

  Diagnosing epilepsy early is important as it means that treatment can start earlier and any associated developmental risks associated with the condition can be minimised. Research has found that more than 50 genes are associated with Early Infant Epileptic Encephalopathy (EIEE) but routine genetic tests fail in at least half the cases to pinpoint the cause of the condition. read more

Partnership between two specific proteins plays a key role in regulating the brain’s activity

Epilepsy is characterised by seizures caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Mapping the patterns of neuronal activity in the brain and understanding the dynamic between nerve cells could lead to better treatments for epilepsy. Researchers from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, working with a team of international scientists investigated how brain proteins interact to regulate the electrical read more

Would you like to help further research into epilepsy?

Interested in taking part in epilepsy research? Then look no further. Professor Henry Houlden, from University College London, is looking for volunteers to take part in his research.  He aims to recruit as many people with epilepsy as possible who are willing to give a blood sample so that their genome can be sequenced.  This will help to identify any read more

Protein increases number of inhibitory synapses in the brain and reduces seizures

Researchers at Brandeis University have used a protein called Semaphorin 4D (Sema4D) to increase the number of inhibitory synapses in the brain and by so doing have dampened down the hyperexcitability of neurons responsible for epileptic seizures. Using an animal model, this has effectively reduced the severity of the seizures experienced. “Our idea is simple and has high impact potential,” read more

Structure of brain receptor implicated in epilepsy has been made clear for the first time

A receptor in the brain for a chemical messenger, called GABA, has long been implicated in various disorders such as epilepsy. Now, for the first time researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Centre in Dallas, have been able to get a clear image of its structure.  “The implications are far-reaching for understanding mechanisms of drug binding and designing new drugs for read more

A ‘baby whale’ may help to further our understanding of epilepsy

Researchers from the University of Texas believe that what they have learnt from a ‘baby whale’ which uses electrical pulses to navigate around its world may help humans in the future by shedding light on how those same electrical pathways operate in conditions such as epilepsy.  Their findings have the potential to further our understanding of the role of potassium read more

Brain activity responsible for absence seizures identified

An international team of researchers led by Professor Crunelli at Cardiff University have identified the brain activity that results in absence seizures. Absence epilepsy is the most common form of epilepsy in children and teenagers and causes periods of little or no awareness and can be mistaken for what looks like ‘daydreaming’ to the casual observer, but which is in read more

Re-purposing existing drugs for the treatment of epilepsy

Posted 11 Jun 2018 in Epilepsy and its causes / Epilepsy general

It is thought that between 30-40% of people with epilepsy have what is termed ‘refractory epilepsy’ as it is not controlled by current medication.  Seizures are the result of alterations in the balance in the excitatory and inhibitory electrical signals in the brain.  Precisely what causes these alterations is unclear.  But now French researchers from INSERM have recently published papers read more

Is the brainstem implicated in epilepsy?

People with epilepsy often complain about cognitive problems such as memory impairment and lack of concentration and focus.  This is particularly the case with patients diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy who also frequently lose consciousness.  Because seizures typically originate in the temporal lobe or other areas in the cortex of the brain (the surface of the structure rather than deep read more

Autism and epilepsy

Early life epileptic seizures have been linked to autism and other disorders, but precisely why this relationship exists is not entirely clear. What has been known for some time is that there are critical periods in the development of the young brain and seizures can disrupt this, leading to learning and cognition issues. Now, Frances Jensen, a Professor of Neurology read more

Could leakage in the blood brain barrier lead to seizures?

Posted 29 May 2018 in Epilepsy and its causes

Recent research findings have suggested that although one of the causes of epilepsy is a dysfunction in the brain’s neurons leading to increased electrical activity in the brain that temporarily affect how it works, another possible cause may be leakage in the blood brain barrier which could lead to seizures. The blood brain barrier typically lets nutrients into the brain read more

Could there be a link between hypertension and epilepsy?

Posted 25 May 2018 in Epilepsy and its causes / Uncategorized

What might link hypertension (high blood pressure), epilepsy and an overactive bladder? According to Jianmin Cui, professor of biomedical engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, at the University of Washington, St Louis, these conditions may be linked by electrical activity in a specific protein. In collaboration with other laboratories at the University of Missouri-Columbia and the University read more

Life extended of donated brain tissue from epilepsy surgery

Posted 20 Mar 2018 in Epilepsy and its causes

Surgery is often the last resort for patients with refractory epilepsy but donated tissue can help us in our quest to find more, and more effective treatments for the condition.  Now scientists at Lund University in Sweden have developed a method to extend the life of brain tissue taken during surgery on patients with epilepsy. Samples can now be used read more

Mossy cells implicated in epilepsy

Posted 2 Mar 2018 in Epilepsy and its causes

‘Mossy cells’ are located in the hippocampus, deep within the brain. Their role in epilepsy has been the subject of discussion for many years. New research conducted by Ivan Soltesz, Professor of neurosurgery and neurosciences at Stanford University suggests that they play a vital role in seizures and memory. In this study the research team were able to turn mossy read more

Many forms of epilepsy may share common neuroanatomical underpinnings

Posted 10 Feb 2018 in Epilepsy and its causes

The largest collaboration of its kind has found that although epilepsy has many forms, causes and symptoms, making it a very difficult condition to treat, there are many forms of epilepsy which share similar neuroanatomical underpinnings.  Thousands of brain scans from 24 research centres in 14 countries across Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australia were analysed by the read more

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