Epilepsy general

Can seizures in Angelman syndrome be controlled by gene therapy?

Angelman syndrome is a severe genetic neurological disorder that occurs in children and is most often diagnosed between the ages of 3 and 7 when the clinical symptoms become apparent. Amongst other symptoms are intellectual and developmental delay. The syndrome is also characterised by epileptic seizures which occur in 90% of cases. There is no known cure and there is read more

Brain seizures can occur if perineuronal nets are dissolved

Scientists at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have determined that perineuronal nets modulate electrical impulses in the brain. What’s more, brain seizures can occur if the nets are dissolved. These findings have implications for some types of acquired epilepsy caused through trauma, tumours or infection of the brain. And further, if the team’s hypotheses are correct, the findings could read more

Rapid advances in genomics mean that more people with epilepsy may benefit

Researchers from UT Southwestern Medical Centre have shown how quickly rapid advancements in genomics may benefit epilepsy patients. In a third of epilepsy cases reviewed in children, there was a change of diagnosis based on the new available data and in some cases this led to doctors prescribing more effective treatments. The study suggests that reviews should be conducted every read more

The future of epilepsy research: new personalised treatment options and novel therapeutics.

It is estimated that the first human genome sequenced in 2003 cost almost $1 billion and took four years to complete. Fast-forward fifteen years, and remarkably, genomic technologies have advanced so quickly that DNA sequencing is now a valuable and cost-effective clinical tool. The field of epilepsy research has certainly benefitted from genomics, providing a rapid advance in our understanding read more

How can we determine which antiepileptic medication is the best treatment option where monotherapy is the aim?

Posted 16 Nov 2018 in Anti-epileptic drugs / Epilepsy general

For cases of newly diagnosed epilepsy it is often difficult to determine which antiepileptic drug will be the best treatment option where monotherapy is the aim. At the moment Simona Lattanzi and colleagues of the Marche Polytechnic University in Ancona, Italy believe that current approaches do not provide “sufficient data to select an optimal agent as monotherapy for particular patient read more

What’s new and exciting in epilepsy research?

We asked Dr Robert Wykes, a translational medicine scientist for his personal perspective.  Here is his response: Despite decades of new anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) reaching market, the problem of drug refractory epilepsy remains. 25-30% of patients do not respond appropriately to AEDs. However in recent years advances in technology and non-pharmacological approaches are beginning to address this clinical need. We read more

The Neurological Alliance is asking for your help to fill in a survey which will shape neurological services for the future

Posted 6 Nov 2018 in Epilepsy general

If you or a loved one has epilepsy please take time out to complete the Neurological Alliance patient experience survey. The Neurological Alliance, which brings together organisations working to make life better for millions of people in England with a neurological condition has a new survey available that they would like you to support. The survey aims to collect vital read more

What does the future of Epilepsy Research hold?

Dr Simon Keller at the University of Liverpool was awarded a £73,220 project grant in this year’s funding round.  We asked Dr Keller and his colleague Professor Tony Marson for their perspective on what the next ten years of epilepsy research hold. This is what they said: “It is difficult to know for sure how treatments for seizures will improve read more

Sleep apnoea and epilepsy: is there a relationship?

What is the relationship between epilepsy and sleep apnoea? In previous studies it has been shown that a greater number of people with epilepsy also experience sleep apnoea, than in the general population. Researchers from Rutgers University wanted to develop a screening tool to detect sleep apnoea in patients with epilepsy as it is known that sleep apnoea can increase read more

Personal experience and scientific evidence – what does it feel like to have a seizure?

What does it feel like to have a seizure? Whilst neurologists will say that a seizure is caused by an over-excitation of neuronal activity in the brain, some people describe their experience as an ‘earthquake, starting slow and growing’. Now, studies at Jefferson (Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University), have shown that some types of seizure paradoxically begin with a read more

Sleep disorders and epilepsy

Sleep disorders in people with epilepsy can exacerbate their symptoms and often remains undiagnosed. Now researchers from Rutgers University have developed a tool to help neurologists identify people with obstructive sleep apnoea whose epilepsy may be magnified by their sleep disorder.  Identifying sleep disorders and treating them can help in seizure control in some people.  At the moment specialists have read more

Paediatric epilepsy care

In the early 2000s paediatric neurologists and the British Paediatric Neurology Association (BPNA) realised that there were shortcomings in the standard of care in the treatment of children with epilepsy.  It was clear that many children with epilepsy in the UK were treated by paediatricians with no specialised training in epilepsy.   And appalling as this finding was, it was read more

Can we predict who will develop epilepsy following brain trauma?

Posted 25 Sep 2018 in Epilepsy and its causes / Epilepsy general

  Is it possible to predict those people who will develop epilepsy following brain trauma? Acquired epilepsy does not occur immediately after brain injury. Visible symptoms can occur months, or even years after the traumatic event, according to Professor Gluckman, professor of engineering science and mechanics, neurosurgery and biomedical engineering and associate director, Penn State Centre for Neural Engineering. In read more

Neurostimulation may offer hope for memory enhancement in epilepsy

Posted 14 Sep 2018 in Memory / Epilepsy general / Living with epilepsy

Despite memory difficulties being a top concern for people with epilepsy, there are currently no existing treatments available to directly target memory issues that are related to epilepsy. This was what motivated researchers from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth University, in the U.S. to investigate neurostimulation. Stephen Meisenhelter and Dr Barbara Jobst reviewed 61 recent research studies on 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

Researchers find protein linked to the treatment of both epilepsy and bipolar disorder

A team of researchers from the Royal Holloway have found that one particular protein which was known to be implicated in both epilepsy and bipolar disorder seems to be the key linking the treatment of both disorders. Sodium valproate which is associated with an increased chance of birth defects if taken during pregnancy, is used in the treatment of both read more

Accurate seizure prediction possible for more people with epilepsy

Accurate seizure prediction is vital for people whose epilepsy remains uncontrolled. Thanks to the crowdsourcing of 10,000 algorithms worldwide researchers at the University of Melbourne are confident that clinically relevant epileptic seizure prediction is possible in a wider range of patients than previously thought. “Our evaluation revealed on average a 90 per cent improvement in seizure prediction performance, compared to 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

Using brain tissue to test the impact of treatments on epilepsy and other neurological conditions

Professor Jurgen Knoblich, a molecular biologist at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna is confident that the way to cost effectively test drugs for incurable neurological conditions is to use human brain tissue. To date most new drugs are initially tested on animal models and although the animals are specifically bred to show read more

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