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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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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

Cutting-edge techniques to explore brain cell activity in epilepsy: Final Report

This is the final report for a 2014 fellowship grant for £211,516 awarded to Dr Rob Wykes at UCL.  Recent technical advances allow optical imaging of neocortical network activity in exquisite detail using rodent models. Dr Wykes at UCL was amongst the first apply this technology to study important questions in the field of epilepsy. Using a cutting-edge technique called read more

What might we see in epilepsy research developments in the coming years?

Dr Vincenzo Marra from the University of Leicester was awarded an Epilepsy Research UK project grant earlier this year to look at how naturally occurring changes in the brain during a seizure could throw light on new therapeutic targets. As Dr Marra explains: “I am interested in how the brain can handle an enormous amount of information with very little 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

Finding brain imaging measures that help to predict memory outcomes in children after epilepsy surgery: Final Report

Posted 22 Nov 2018 in News from Epilepsy Research UK

This is the final report for a 2015 pilot grant for £21,666 awarded to Professor Stefano Seri, Professor Amanda Wood, and Dr Elaine Foley at Aston University.  Epilepsy surgery in children offers the prospect of fewer seizures and improved overall quality of life; however there is a risk that brain regions that are important for cognition (thinking, learning and memory) will 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

How Biomarkers will Transform epilepsy care in the 2020s

We asked Professor Deb Pal, from King’s College London, who was awarded an ERUK pilot grant in this year’s funding round, to give us his view on where the biggest advances will be made in epilepsy research over the next few years.  Here is his response. At my primary school in the 1970s, we had an old lady music teacher read more

Understanding the genetics of mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis: Final Report

This is the final report for a fellowship grant awarded in 2012 for £249,860 to Dr Mar Matarin at UCL.  Mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis is the most frequent type of epilepsy in people who do not respond well to medication. This type of epilepsy affects some structures of the brain, particularly the hippocampus which is important for 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

A closer look at ……GLUTAMATE

Cells in the brain must communicate with each other to function correctly. They do this using chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters travel to neighbouring cells through junctions called synapses. Glutamate is the most common neurotransmitter in the body. Although glutamate is vital for the healthy functioning of the brain, research has found abnormal patterns of glutamate immediately before epileptic seizures. read more

How does stimulation of the senses affect the way epileptic seizures spread across the brain? Final Report

Posted 15 Nov 2018 in News from Epilepsy Research UK

This is the final report from a 2015 project grant for £147,758 awarded to Dr Jason Berwick, Dr Samuel Harris, Professor Ying Zheng, and Professor Theodore Schwartz at the University of Sheffield.  Epileptic seizures can start in a small part of the brain before quickly spreading to others, but very little is known about how or why. Finding where seizures read more

Investigating the mechanisms of depression in temporal lobe epilepsy: Final Report

Posted 12 Nov 2018 in News from Epilepsy Research UK

This is the final report for a 2015 pilot grant for £29,977 awarded to Dr Jackie Foong and Dr Matthias Koepp at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, UCLH.  In this pilot study, Dr Foong and colleagues used brain imaging techniques and psychological tests to investigate how the frontal and temporal areas of the brain work in people with temporal 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

A closer look at ……..SYNAPTIC VESICLES

In order to conduct the millions of tasks the human brain completes every day, nerve cells must communicate with each other. Neighbouring cells are connected by junctions, which are called synapses. Chemical messengers, called neurotransmitters, must travel from one cell to another across a synapse in order to deliver a message. Before travelling across synapses, these chemical messengers are stored read more

The role of autoantibodies in epilepsy: Final Report

This is the final report for a project grant awarded in 2012 for £149,916 to Professor Bethan Lang, Professor Sarosh Irani, Dr Jane Adcock, Dr Holger Kramer, and Professor Arjune Sen at the University of Oxford.  The immune system normally protects a person from infections by making specialised agents called antibodies which normally recognise “foreign targets” and destroy them. Doctors utilise 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

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