Links for Keyword: Epilepsy

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By Nathan Seppa Epilepsy that strikes in childhood and lingers into adulthood triples an individual’s risk of dying, researchers find. But children who “outgrow” epilepsy and see their seizures fade as adults don’t have this added mortality risk, researchers report in the Dec. 23 New England Journal of Medicine. The findings, from a 40-year study in Finland, provide a long-term look that doctors can use as they puzzle over whether to recommend surgery for patients or continue with medication, says neurologist David Ficker of the University of Cincinnati, who wasn’t involved in the study. “We probably should be treating epilepsy aggressively in people who aren’t seizure-free,” he says. Doctors tracked the fate of 245 children diagnosed with epilepsy in the early 1960s. Half of the patients had epilepsy stemming from no clear cause and were neurologically normal, apart from having seizures. The other half had a clear epilepsy trigger, such as severe head trauma, brain injury from meningitis or encephalitis, or other brain damage that was identifiable on scans such as magnetic resonance imaging. All the patients got checkups every five years until 2002. By then, 60 had died, a rate three times the average for people in Finland of comparable age, ranging up to 54 years. Of those 60 deaths, 51 occurred in the 107 patients who were still having seizures. Only five occurred in the 35 who had been in remission for five years or more with the help of medication, and four deaths occurred in the 103 people whose seizures had been in remission for that long without medication. Overall, 33 deaths were tied to epilepsy. The other deaths were mainly due to pneumonia and heart disease. © Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2010

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 14817 - Posted: 12.27.2010

By Sandra G. Boodman As the all-too-familiar number flashed on his cellphone shortly before 9 p.m., Dan Landri-gan reflexively braced himself for bad news. The caller was one of the doctors treating his wife, Donna, who had been in a coma for four months. "She sounded pretty choked up," Landrigan recalled. "I think we've found out what's making your wife sick," the specialist at the University of Rochester's Strong Memorial Hospital told him, as a wave of relief flooded his body. "I was completely shocked," said the telecommunications executive, now 37. "My hope for so long was that this was the phone call I was going to get." Doctors at three Upstate New York hospitals had been stymied by Donna Landrigan, whose case was unlike any they had seen. The previously healthy 35-year-old mother of three had initially become so psychotic she had to be tied to her hospital bed to keep her from hurting herself or attacking others. A few weeks later she had been placed in a medically induced coma to protect her from the continuous seizures wracking her brain, spasms that could have killed her. Every promising lead had seemed to turn into a dead end, and the dangers of prolonged coma, including severe brain damage, were mounting. Things looked so hopeless that doctors had begun discussing whether to suggest terminating life support. © 2010 The Washington Post Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 5: Hormones and the Brain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 14749 - Posted: 12.07.2010

By FRED VOGELSTEIN Once every three or four months my son, Sam, grabs a cookie or a piece of candy and, wide-eyed, holds it inches from his mouth, ready to devour it. He knows he’s not allowed to eat these things, but like any 9-year-old, he hopes that somehow, this once, my wife, Evelyn, or I will make an exception. We never make exceptions when it comes to Sam and food, though, which means that when temptation takes hold of Sam and he is denied, things can get pretty hairy. Confronted with a gingerbread house at a friend’s party last December, he went scorched earth, grabbing parts of the structure and smashing it to bits. Reason rarely works. Usually one of us has to pry the food out of his hands. Sometimes he ends up in tears. It’s not just cookies and candy that we forbid Sam to eat. Cake, ice cream, pizza, tortilla chips and soda aren’t allowed, either. Macaroni and cheese used to be his favorite food, but he told Evelyn the other day that he couldn’t remember what it tastes like anymore. At Halloween we let him collect candy, but he trades it in for a present. At birthday parties and play dates, he brings a lunchbox to eat from. There is no crusade against unhealthful food in our house. Some might argue that unhealthful food is all we let Sam eat. His breakfast eggs are mixed with heavy cream and served with bacon. A typical lunch is full-fat Greek yogurt mixed with coconut oil. Dinner is hot dogs, bacon, macadamia nuts and cheese. We figure that in an average week, Sam consumes a quart and a third of heavy cream, nearly a stick and a half of butter, 13 teaspoons of coconut oil, 20 slices of bacon and 9 eggs. Sam’s diet is just shy of 90 percent fat. Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 14700 - Posted: 11.23.2010

By ALIYAH BARUCHIN On July 9, 2009, Steve Wulchin went to wake his 19-year-old son, Eric, in their home in Boulder, Colo. Eric had been given a diagnosis of epilepsy three years earlier, but other than that, his father said, “there was nothing out of the ordinary.” His seizures had been well controlled; he had not had one in six months. Yet that morning, Mr. Wulchin found Eric lying on the floor. CPR and paramedics were too late; Eric had died at about 2:30 a.m. The cause of Eric’s death was ultimately listed as Sudep, for sudden unexplained death in epilepsy. The syndrome accounts for up to 18 percent of all deaths in people with epilepsy, by most estimates; those with poorly controlled seizures have an almost 1 in 10 chance of dying over the course of a decade. Yet many patients and their families never hear about Sudep until someone dies. Mr. Wulchin said none of Eric’s four neurologists ever mentioned it to the family. “The message we got back was, ‘There’s no reason why he can’t live a long and normal life,’ ” he said. “It never occurred to me that this was a possibility.” Now, physicians, researchers, advocates and relatives like Mr. Wulchin, a technology executive, are trying to raise awareness about Sudep. One of their goals is to establish registries of deaths and autopsy results, building databases to support future research. Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 14287 - Posted: 07.27.2010

DALLAS – – Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas are using magnetic fields to treat diseases in the world’s second laboratory dedicated to magnetic seizure therapy (MST) research. The director of the new Neuro Stimulation Laboratory, Dr. Mustafa M. Husain, and co-investigator Dr. Larry Thornton, associate professors of psychiatry, hope this therapeutic tool at UT Southwestern will offer a better option for patients suffering from neuropsychiatric diseases, including major depression. MST stimulates the brain by directing a diffused electrical current to targeted areas but without the direct electrical stimulation used in electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), or “shock therapy” said Dr. Eric Nestler, chairman of psychiatry. MST also doesn’t seem to have the same side effects as ECT. © 2002 The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 3180 - Posted: 06.24.2010

A mutated gene has been discovered as the key behind epilepsy and mental retardation specific to women, thanks to new research at Adelaide’s Women’s & Children’s Hospital and the University of Adelaide, Australia. The world-first discovery, published today in Nature Genetics, shows that although men carry the ‘bad’ gene, only women are affected. The research has been led by Dr Leanne Dibbens and Associate Professor Jozef Gecz from the Department of Genetic Medicine, Women’s & Children’s Hospital, and the Discipline of Paediatrics at the University of Adelaide. The discovery is a result of a major international collaboration involving the Sanger Institute in Cambridge (UK), Wellcome Trust (UK) and many other collaborators in Australia, the United States, Ireland and Israel. Their work has linked, for the first time, a large family of genes known as protocadherins with a condition known as “epilepsy and mental retardation limited to females” (EFMR). Although a relatively uncommon disorder, the condition is hereditary, with successive generations of women affected. In just one of seven families studied across the world, 23 women were affected by the disorder across five generations. This discovery will now enable such families to benefit from genetic counselling, including screening for the genetic mutation at pregnancy. © 2008 Eureka! Science News

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 11643 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Key breakthroughs into epilepsy will rely on the consistent support of charities, says a lead researcher specialising in the condition. Internationally renowned Professor John Duncan says: ‘Those with epilepsy can take some comfort from the fact we are narrowing down the likely causes and consequences of this potentially-devastating disease of the brain. ‘But we still have much to learn, and unfortunately this is unlikely to happen without generous donations from charities.’ Paddington Bear ©P & Company 2001

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 2063 - Posted: 06.24.2010

by Colin Barras Epilepsy may be sparked by a metal imbalance in the brain caused by a single gene mutation, a study in mice suggests. The finding could help develop new treatments in humans who suffer from the condition. Steven Clapcote's team at the University of Leeds, UK, pinpointed a gene that seems to play an important part in the genesis of epileptic seizures, which result from abnormal bursts of electrical activity in the brain and can occur even when there is no underlying neurological condition. The Atp1a3 gene is one of three that produce a chemical pump mechanism to keep sodium and potassium levels in brain nerve cells and the surrounding tissue at the levels needed for normal activity. "It's been known for a long time that injecting the sodium/potassium pump inhibitor ouabain into the brain can induce seizures in rats," says Clapcote, and it's also known that mice lacking two of three forms of the pump – either the "alpha1" or "alpha2" forms – are free from seizures. Cured offspring Clapcote's team have now determined that mice with a mutated copy of the Atp1a3 gene and reduced activity of the "alpha3" pump were prone to epileptic seizures. The mouse strain has been dubbed Myshkin after a Dostoevsky character in The Idiot, who suffered from epilepsy. "Mysh" also comes from the Russian for mouse. © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 13127 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Rachel Nowak Tooth brushing can induce seizures in people with epilepsy, a new case study of three people with the condition has found. “Brushing your teeth is very rhythmic. Our idea is that it causes a rhythmic over-activity in the brain, which feeds back on itself – similar to the effect of strobe lighting on people with photosensitive epilepsy,” says neurologist Wendyl D’Souza of St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, one of the team reporting the cases. Epilepsy occurs when nerve cells in an area of the brain fire more rapidly than usual and in synchrony with one another. This causes seizures that range from “grand mal” seizures – the old term for extreme convulsions and loss of consciousness – to short bouts of staring that may wrongly be blamed on lack of concentration. Seizures bought on by a benign stimulus such as tooth brushing, reading or strobe lighting – called “reflex” seizures – are rare, D’Souza notes. Each of the patients in the new study had been diagnosed with epilepsy, and had suffered full-blown convulsive seizures. The tooth-brushing seizures were smaller and included jerking of the mouth, eyes, and face; tongue cramping; and excessive salivation, lasting for up to 90 seconds. © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 10039 - Posted: 06.24.2010

St. Paul, Minn. – A new study shows that the prognosis is good for people who have epilepsy surgery, even 30 years after the surgery. The study is published in the June 14 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology. “Few studies have looked at the long-term prognosis for epilepsy surgery,” said neurologist and study author William H. Theodore, MD, of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, Md. “We found that 50 percent of the patients were free of seizures 30 years after the surgery.” In epilepsy, surgery is generally considered for those whose seizures do not respond to medication. The study involved people who had a temporal lobectomy, which is the surgical removal of the portion of the brain where seizures most often occur. The study examined 48 people who had a temporal lobectomy at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda an average of nearly 30 years previously. The patients or their families were questioned about whether they had experienced seizures at one year after the surgery, and at five, 10, and 30 years after the surgery. At 30 years, 14 people were free of seizures and taking no epilepsy drugs; 10 people were free of seizures while taking epilepsy medication. Those who had seizures within the first year after surgery were least likely to be free of seizures in the future.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 17: Learning and Memory
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 7515 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Durham, N.C. – Determining which variants of particular genes patients with epilepsy carry might enable doctors to better predict the dose of drugs necessary to control their seizures, suggest basic findings by researchers at the Duke University Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy (IGSP) and the University College London. Patients often undergo a lengthy process of trial and error to find the dose of anti-epilepsy drugs appropriate for them. The researchers found that variants of two genes were more likely to be found in patients who required higher dosages of anti-epileptic drugs. The findings suggest that, by incorporating genetic tests into the prescription process, physicians might improve outcomes for patients with epilepsy, said the researchers. A similar approach might also prove useful for other conditions, such as Parkinson's disease and cancer, in which patients' drug dosage requirements vary substantially, they added. Rigorous clinical study is required before any such method could be put into practice, the researchers emphasized. In the March 28, 2005, early edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the investigators report the first clear evidence linking variation in genes involved in the action or metabolism of the anti-epileptic drugs, carbamazepine and phenytoin, to the drugs' clinical use. The study is the first to emerge from a partnership, aimed at tailoring the treatment of epilepsy to patients' genetic makeup, between the Department of Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy at the University College London and the Duke Center for Population Genomics and Pharmacogenetics, a center of the IGSP. © 2001-2005 Duke University Medical Center.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 7097 - Posted: 06.24.2010

A meticulous series of experiments – and the fortuitous use of a vacuum cleaner – lead to breakthrough new insight on the genetic basis of epilepsy. Circadian rhythms -- the normal ups and downs of body rhythms – help organize physiological processes into a 24 hour cycle, affecting everything from body temperature, hormone levels and heart rate, to pain thresholds. Scientists have now discovered that the combined deletion of three circadian genes, encoding the PAR bZip transcription factor protein family, results in accelerated aging and severe epilepsy in mice. Owing to the roughly 95% identity of PAR bZip proteins between mice and humans, it is anticipated that PAR bZip mutations may also underlie some forms of human epilepsy. A copy of this important new study is being released in advance of its June 15th publication date by the journal Genes & Development (http://www.genesdev.org). "The objective of the study was to assign physiological functions to the small family of PAR bZip transcription factors," explains Dr. Ueli Schibler, principal investigator of the study and in whose lab the first PAR bZip transcription factor was found nearly 15 years ago. The PAR bZip transcription factor family is composed of three proteins (DBP, HLF and TEF), all of which display distinct patterns of circadian accumulation: In tissues with high amplitudes of circadian clock gene expression (like the liver), PAR bZip protein levels change up to 50-fold throughout the day. However, in the brain, where clock gene expression varies little, PAR bZip protein levels barely change.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming; Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep; Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 5606 - Posted: 06.24.2010

ST. PAUL, MN – The majority of epilepsy patients who are seizure-free for the first year after surgery will have a favorable long-term outcome, according to a study in the August 26 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study examined 175 patients with intractable epilepsy (when the condition is not relieved by medication) who had surgery that removed a small portion of the brain identified as a region involved in seizure generation, and who were seizure-free for the first year following surgery. Researchers followed up with the patients for an average of more than eight years, and found that 63 percent never relapsed (stayed seizure-free). “Little is known about seizure recurrence in patients five, 10, or 20 years after surgery, and one year isn’t enough to follow up a patient who had surgery,” said study author and neurologist Susan S. Spencer, MD, of the Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn. “The number of patients who didn’t relapse in this study was larger than we thought it would be.”

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 4185 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Children's Center report that hemispherectomy – a procedure in which half the brain is removed -– may reduce or eliminate severe seizures even in older children with a rare congenital disorder associated with epilepsy. The findings are published in the December issue of Neurology. Contrary to results of previous studies, the Hopkins research found that in children with Sturge-Weber syndrome, delaying hemispherectomy even for years had no apparent effect on seizure control or learning ability. Some 80 percent of Sturge-Weber patients develop epilepsy. "In fact, older patients were statistically more likely to be seizure-free after surgery," said the study's lead author, Eric Kossoff, M.D., a pediatric neurologist at the Children's Center. "However, in general, the child's age at surgery did not have an adverse effect on either their intellectual abilities or seizure reduction."

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry; Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain; Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 3164 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Sufferers are not seeking alternative treatments New York – New survey data released today reveals that people with hard to control epilepsy experience a poor quality of life, but that many do not proactively pursue new treatments that could help. The Quality of Life in Epilepsy survey, sponsored by Cyberonics, reveals that people with epilepsy are three times more likely to be unemployed than the national average. Almost half of these patients suffer from depression and believe that epilepsy has reduced their daily activities and their personal and professional goals for the future. Three-quarters of the epilepsy patients surveyed strongly believe that even modest improvements in seizure control would significantly improve their daily lives but only one-third of them regularly ask their doctor if new or alternative treatments are available. The Balance Between Seizure Control and Number of Medications Only 25 percent of surveyed patients have been seizure-free for the past year, with the remaining 75 percent experiencing an average of 70 seizures each year.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 1788 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By JOHN BRANCH SEDALIA, Colo. — In the middle of the night, Diane Van Deren will leave her house against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. She will cut west through the dark canyons with her running shoes and a headlamp, but without a kiwi-sized part of her right temporal lobe. She used to run away from epileptic seizures. Since brain surgery, she just runs, uninhibited by the drudgery of time and distance, undeterred by an inability to remember exactly where she is going or how to get back. “It used to be, call for help if Mom’s not back in five hours,” Van Deren said. She laughed. “That rule has been stretched. I’ve got a 24-hour window now. Isn’t that sad?” Van Deren, 49, had a lobectomy in 1997. She has become one of the world’s great ultra-runners, competing in races of attrition measuring 100 miles or more. She won last year’s Yukon Arctic Ultra 300, a trek against frigid cold, deep snow and loneliness, and was the first woman to complete the 430-mile version this year. This weekend she will run in the Hardrock 100 in Silverton, Colo. It has a total elevation gain of 33,000 feet and crosses the top of 14,048-foot Handies Peak. About 150 people will enter. About half will not finish the 100 miles within the allotted 48 hours. Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 17: Learning and Memory; Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 13033 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By GREG BISHOP Using the “contact us” tab on the organization’s Web site, an adult who lived in the area wanted to volunteer and work closely with children. The man knew what they were going through. His first seizure came on Christmas Eve during his freshman year of high school. The name at the bottom of the note nearly caused the employee reading it to fall from the chair. “Sincerely, Alan Faneca,” it said. The foundation has four offices, all in the heart of Steelers country, and here was Faneca, the Steelers’ perennial Pro Bowl guard, asking to volunteer, unprompted, for no reason other than that he had excelled with epilepsy, not in spite of it. “Very few people in the public eye who have epilepsy are willing to publicly talk about it,” said Judy Painter, the foundation’s executive director. “Alan gave so much hope to other people — people I don’t think he ever expected he would help.” Like Nick Cardello, 62, from Pittsburgh. Cardello grew up watching Mean Joe Greene and Lynn Swann and Terry Bradshaw, Steelers who were so good, he said, “you couldn’t not watch them.” Before Faneca went to the Jets this off-season, he was Cardello’s favorite player, a punishing left guard whose lack of glitz and glamour suited Steelers fans. Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 12211 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By ALIYAH BARUCHIN The first thing you notice about 13-year-old Nora Leitner is the dark circles under her eyes. They stand in stark contrast to the rest of her appearance. At a glance she might be any petite, pretty tween girl, with her blond ponytail, elfin frame and thousand-watt smile, but the circles tell a different story. Nora looks as if she hasn’t slept in a month. In a sense, she hasn’t. Nora has epilepsy, and as with 30 percent of those with the disorder, her seizures are not controlled by existing treatments. She often has more than one seizure a day, mostly at night. Her seizures, called tonic-clonic (what used to be known as grand mal), cause her to lose consciousness for a full minute while her body convulses. While some people feel an “aura” of symptoms before a seizure, Nora’s seizures happen entirely without warning. When she seized at the top of a staircase in her home in Yardley, Pa., it was plain luck that her parents were at the bottom and caught her as she fell. Though she is on the brink of adolescence, she is rarely, if ever, left alone. Epilepsy affects 50 million people worldwide and more than 2.7 million people in the United States; half of all patients are children. Especially in its intractable form, also called refractory epilepsy, the disorder — and the side effects of epilepsy medications — can cause problems in learning, memory and behavior, and indelibly alter development. Epilepsy can also consume families, monopolizing their time, money and energy. Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 11639 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Arran Frood Scientists have discovered that a drug already used to control a type of epileptic seizure can also prevent future seizures in rats. Although many medications are used to control the symptoms of epilepsy, this is the first time that a drug has successfully halted progression of the disease. Epilepsy is a chronic disease characterized by sudden, recurring seizures that can occur at any time. The condition manifests in many different ways. About 17% of children with epilepsy have 'absence seizures', or petit mal — short periods of vacant staring during which they are unresponsive to the outside world. This type of epilepsy is often inherited, and although it eventually disappears in many children, others go on to develop more severe forms of the disease. Researchers at Yale University School of Medicine in Connecticut looked at rats that had been genetically engineered to develop absence seizures and an anticonvulsant drug already approved to treat this condition, called ethosuximide. They gave one group of rats ethosuximide from the age of 21 days, before any epileptic symptoms had started, until the rats were 8 months old; a second group received the drug until the rats were only five months old; and a third control group received unmedicated water. © 2008 Nature Publishing Group

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 11383 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By BENEDICT CAREY Doctors reported yesterday that expectant mothers with epilepsy who took a commonly prescribed drug to control seizures were at increased risk of having a child with mental deficits. Toddlers who had been exposed in the womb to the drug Depakote, from Abbott Laboratories, scored seven to eight points lower on I.Q. tests at age 2 than those whose mothers had been taking other epilepsy drugs while pregnant, the study found. They were twice as likely to score in the range associated with mental retardation, according to the authors, who presented the findings at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Boston. Other researchers said the findings should be considered preliminary because I.Q. measures were less reliable in 2-year-olds than in older children; the study will continue, tracking children through age 6. The report is consistent with several recent studies finding that Depakote is more likely than other so-called anticonvulsant drugs to increase the risk of mental deficits and other birth defects, like neural tube problems. An estimated 24 million American women have taken these drugs — which include Tegretol from Novartis, Lamictal from GlaxoSmithKline and Dilantin from Parke Davis — for an array of problems, including epilepsy, bipolar disorder and migraine headaches, according to an analysis by the Epilepsy Foundation. Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 10261 - Posted: 06.24.2010