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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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

Continuous Electrical Brain Stimulation Could be a Treatment Option for People with Drug-Resistant Epilepsy

Posted 22 Sep 2016 in Other treatments

Continuous electrical brain stimulation could help to suppress epileptic seizures, offering a new treatment option for people who have epilepsy that cannot be treated with surgery or medication. These findings are published in JAMA Neurology, First Author Dr Brian Lundstrom, at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, US, said: “We think this approach not only provides an effective treatment for those with focal epilepsy, but read more

People With Epilepsy Still More Likely to Experience Discrimination

Posted 20 Sep 2016 in Conditions related to epilepsy

A new study, published in the scientific journal Epilepsia, shows that people with epilepsy still feel discriminated against a lot more than the ‘general population’. According to the authors, this could lead to psychological and social problems and may even lead to the development of psychiatric problems. First Author on the study, Dr Victoria Nimmo-Smith, from the University of Bristol, said: “This paper demonstrates that despite read more

Valproic acid may be more effective than lamotrigine in some types of epilepsy

Valproic acid may be more effective than lamotrigine as a first-line drug for the treatment newly diagnosed idiopathic generalized tonic-clonic seizures (GTCS) in adults. This is according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. Opinions among medical professionals differ as to which drug is more effective in adults newly diagnosed with idiopathic GTCS, and this prompted researchers in India to read more

Results of Extension Study Show Benefit of Drug in Controlling Seizures

Please note that Epilepsy Research UK does not endorse/promote individual epilepsy treatments or pharmaceutical companies. Long-term use (up to two and a half years) of the antiepileptic drug (AED) Fycompa (perampanel), in addition to other AEDs, gives sustained seizure control in poorly-controlled idiopathic generalised epilepsy with primary generalised tonic clonic seizures. This is according to data presented at the 12thEuropean Congress on Epileptology, was held 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

Do Omega-3 Supplements Have a Beneficial Effect in Drug-Resistant Epilepsy?

Posted 14 Sep 2016 in Other treatments

Scientists in Brazil suggest that the benefits of omega-3 supplements in people with drug-resistant epilepsy require further investigation. This comes after literature review, published in Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews. To assess the effectiveness and tolerability of omega-3 supplements in the control of seizures in people with drug-resistant epilepsy, the researchers, from Universidade Estadual de Ciências da Saúde de Alagoas, 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

UKCRC Tissue Directory and Coordination Centre

Posted 8 Sep 2016 in Uncategorized

The UKCRC Tissue Directory and Coordination Centre is a new jointly-funded project based at UCL, in collaboration with the University of Nottingham.  It is an exciting initiative, which aims to improve access to human tissue samples for research purposes in the UK. There is a need for researchers to be able to find human samples for high-quality research. To facilitate read more

Promising Results From Phase Three Clinical Trial for People With Tuberous Sclerosis Complex

Posted 8 Sep 2016 in Other treatments

Please note that Epilepsy Research UK does not endorse/promote individual epilepsy treatments or pharmaceutical companies. The antiepileptic drug (AED) everolimus significantly reduces seizure frequency in people with drug-resistant epilepsy and tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), according to a study published in the leading medical journal The Lancet. The phase three clinical trial was conducted by a team of researchers led by Dr David 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

The ketogenic diet shows mood and behavioural benefits in children

Posted 6 Sep 2016 in Other treatments

The ketogenic diet may have a positive impact on behaviour and thinking skills in children with drug-resistant epilepsy, according to a study conducted in the Netherlands. The results are published in the scientific journal Epilepsy and Behavior. The randomised controlled trial, led by Dr Albert Aldenkamp, from Epilepsy Center Kempenhaeghe, recruited 50 children with drug-resistant epilepsy, aged between one and 18 years. After a one-month read more

ERUK study shows promising results for two antiepileptic drugs in pregnancy

An Epilepsy Research UK-funded study has shown that taking the antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) levetiracetam or topiramate during pregnancy may not have a negative impact on the baby’s IQ and thinking skills. The research, which also confirms the risks associated with valproate (another AED), is published in Neurology® online. There is accumulating evidence that exposure to valproate before birth is linked to a significantly increased chance of birth defects, developmental problems and lower IQ, especially at higher dosages. However, 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

Irritable Bowel Syndrome More Common in People With Epilepsy

Posted 26 Aug 2016 in Conditions related to epilepsy

A new study, published in the scientific journal Epilepsy and Behavior, shows that irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is more common in people with epilepsy than in the ‘general’ population. The research also suggests that, although IBS itself doesn’t have a negative impact on health-related quality of life in people with epilepsy, it is associated with a greater likelihood of depression/anxiety read more

Small Device Could Detect and Stop Epileptic Seizures on the Spot

Posted 25 Aug 2016 in Other treatments

Researchers in Sweden and France have developed a tiny device that can detect epileptic seizures at the exact point in which they arise, and deliver, to that precise point, a substance that can stop them before they spread to other areas of the brain. The device, called a bioelectronic neural pixel, is 20×20 μm* in size (approximately the size of a read more

Assessing anti-epileptic drug risk in pregnancy: are new methods as reliable as traditional ones?

Posted 24 Aug 2016 in News from Epilepsy Research UK

These are the findings from an Epilepsy Research UK (ERUK) grant, which was awarded to Dr Rachel Charlton, at the University of Bath, in 2014. Background For women with epilepsy pregnancy requires very careful planning, because exposure to some anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) in the womb, valproate in particular, has been linked to an increased chance of birth defects, behavioural problems read more

The Impact of AEDs on Bone Health

Paediatric researchers from Taiwan, who compared the effects of old and new antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) on bone health, found that new AEDs may be safer and better tolerated. They note, however, that further research is needed to fully understand the effects of newer AEDs on bone health and growth. According to the scientists, whose study is published in the International Journal of read more

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