Links for Keyword: Epilepsy

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Roxanne Khamsi Experiments on immature rats' brains suggest that treating epileptic children with benzodiazepine drugs could do more harm than good, scientists in France have claimed. They have found that the neurotransmitters unlocked by these drugs cause changes in brain chemistry that actually promote epileptic activity. Anticonvulsant benzodiazepines are a last-ditch treatment used to stop seizures in both infants and adults. Some medical experts think that the electrical activity associated with seizures can change brain networks, making them more susceptible to future epileptic activity. So understanding the chemistry of seizures might lead to drugs that can counteract epilepsy's development, says Yehezkel Ben-Ari, a neuroscientist at the Mediterranean Institute of Neurobiology in Marseille. His team studied the electrical and chemical activity of brains removed from baby rats. They were particularly interested in the hippocampus, a part of the brain important in epileptic seizures. The researchers found that the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) triggers rapid electrical signalling in the immature hippocampus - a hallmark of epileptic seizures. Benzodiazepine drugs enhance the action of this neurotransmitter. ©2005 Nature Publishing Group

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 8279 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By David W. Loring, Ph.D. Epilepsy is a major public health concern, with prevalence estimated to be slightly less than 1% (Annegers, 1996). Each year, 25,000 to 40,000 children in the United States alone experience their first unprovoked seizure (Hirtz et al., 2003). Depending on the type of seizure (e.g., generalized versus focal) or specific epilepsy syndrome (e.g., juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, benign rolandic epilepsy), there are several recommended medications with demonstrated clinical efficacy from which to choose (Hirtz et al., 2003). Selection of a specific medication, however, is often based upon clinical experience due to the absence of adequate antiepileptic drug (AED) pediatric clinical trials. Antiepileptic drugs decrease membrane excitability, increase postsynaptic inhibition or alter synchronization of neural networks to decrease excessive neuronal excitability associated with seizure development. Common side effects of decreasing neuronal excitability, however, are slowed motor and psychomotor speed, poorer attention and mild memory impairment (Meador, 2005). Unlike adults, cognitive side effects in children occur against the backdrop of normal cognitive and psychosocial development, and treatment decisions made in childhood may have lifelong implications. Adults who developed epilepsy during their childhood tend to have less education, decreased rates of employment and employment at lower job levels, lower rates of marriage, poorer physical health, and increased incidence of psychiatric disorders (Jalava and Sillanpaa 1997a, 1997b; Jalava et al., 1997; Sillanpaa et al., 1998). Importantly, these long-term effects are also present in adults who are no longer taking medications. © 2005 Psychiatric Times.

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: 7992 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Bernadette Tansey, Chronicle Staff Writer The Food and Drug Administration has asked the makers of all epilepsy drugs to re-examine their clinical trial data in response to claims that one of the medicines, Pfizer's Neurontin, boosts the risk of suicide. Word of the FDA action came in response to a petition filed last May by personal injury attorney Andrew Finkelstein, who has been urging the agency to warn doctors that the commonly prescribed drug Neurontin can lead to severe depression and suicide. Neurontin, with $2.7 billion in sales last year, has been prescribed to more than 10 million people since it was put on the market in 1994. Although it was formally approved for patients suffering from epilepsy and later for pain related to a skin disorder, it has since been prescribed for illnesses ranging from psychiatric disorders to back pain. Finkelstein bases his claims on the FDA's own records as well as 318 suicides and about 2,000 suicide attempts among families he represents. The FDA's inquiry comes as it tries to repair its image as the guardian of drug safety after a series of controversies over its response to warnings about serious side effects linked to several other blockbuster medicines. ©2005 San Francisco Chronicle

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: 7238 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Helen Pearson A group of drugs already approved for humans can prolong the lifespan of worms. So, will these medicines be sought after by those seeking eternal youth? Researchers have long been trying to find drugs or elixirs that can stave off ageing. But they have met with little success, partly because it is laborious and time-consuming to show that a drug adds years to our lives. To get around this problem, Kerry Kornfeld of Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, and his team tested drugs on a tiny, short-lived worm called Caenorhabditis elegans. Researchers have shown before that tweaking certain genes can prolong this worm's life. The team split the worms into groups and doped their food with 19 prescription medicines, from steroids to diuretics to anti-inflammatory drugs. "We went through a pharmaceutical textbook and picked a drug from each class," Kornfeld says. Most of the drugs had no effect, or even killed the worms at high doses. But an anticonvulsant used to fight epilepsy, and two other similar compounds, lengthened the animals' lives by as much as 50%. Normal signs of ageing were also delayed in the animals. ©2005 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: 6695 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Sudden cardiac death from emotional stress may be triggered by uneven signals from the brain to the heart, according to a study by University College London (UCL) scientists published in the January issue of Brain . UCL researchers have discovered that a system which normally coordinates signalling from the brain to different parts of the heart may be disrupted in some people, making them vulnerable to potentially fatal abnormal heart rhythms during mentally taxing tasks or emotional events such as family gatherings. This is particularly true of people who already have heart disease, but it is the brain that may be most responsible. The new study suggests that uneven brain activity, in a region where nerves link directly to the heart, seems to result in an uneven distribution of signals across the heart, which stops the heart from contracting normally. Around a third of the 300,000 sudden cardiac deaths which occur each year in the US arise from a blood clot in a major artery, which leads to a fatal heart attack. Mental stress is thought to be responsible for a further 20 per cent of these deaths, but scientists have been baffled by the exact mechanisms by which stress can bring on a fatal short-circuiting of the heart. Copyright © 1999-2004 UCL

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: 6615 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By Laura Spinney Epilepsy often develops after the brain is damaged, and patients commonly must take anticonvulsant drugs for a lifetime despite unpleasant side effects. Such drugs target the seizures but not the underlying cause. Now, new theories promise to untangle the mechanisms of epileptogenesis and presage the possibility of a new generation of drugs that treat the initial brain damage and prevent epilepsy from developing. In roughly half of all patients with epilepsy, the condition develops later in life after the patient sustains a brain injury such as trauma or meningitis. The latency of onset can range from a few weeks to a decade after brain damage occurs. Researchers have been scrambling to uncover what happens during that delay. SIMPLE BALANCE A generally held theory suggests that something upsets the balance of excitatory and inhibitory signals in the brain, leading to overall hyperexcitability. This theory rests on observations that inhibitory cells become less active while excitatory pathways multiply, implying "a simple balance of inhibition and excitation," according to John Duncan of the Institute of Neurology in London. He says that this theory is probably wrong, or at least incomplete. "The reality is clearly more complicated, as neurons form intricate networks and interconnections." © 2004, The Scientist LLC,

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: 6454 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Researchers at the University of Alabama have found a way to mimic epileptic seizures in the tiny roundworm C. elegans. The finding could make the worm a powerful model for unraveling the molecular regulation of epilepsy, a condition that affects two percent of the population. Guy A. Caldwell, coordinator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's (HHMI) Undergraduate Research Intern Program and assistant professor of biological sciences at the University of Alabama, led a research team that included Kim A. Caldwell, assistant professor of biological sciences and director of the university's HHMI-sponsored Rural Science Scholars Program; Shelli N. Williams, a Ph.D. student; and two HHMI undergraduate research interns, Cody J. Locke and Andrea L. Braden. They studied worms with a mutation in the LIS1 gene. In its human form, the gene has been linked to a rare birth defect called lissencephaly, which affects one out of every 30,000 children born. In children with lissencephaly, the normally wrinkled surface of the brain's cortex is smooth. They also have mental retardation and severe epilepsy, the causes of which are not well understood. The team traced the mutation's effect on specific neurons in the simple nervous system of the 1-millimeter roundworm and published their findings in the September 15, 2004 issue of the journal Human Molecular Genetics, published online August 31. © 2004 Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

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: 6056 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By JANET McCONNAUGHEY NEW ORLEANS -- Japanese children who had seizures during a "Pokemon" cartoon in 1997 have generally not had another one unless they already had epilepsy, researchers say. The TV show sent at least 685 Japanese viewers, mostly children, to emergency rooms with symptoms ranging from nausea and hyperventilation to convulsions. They were apparently made sick by a scene with extremely rapid flashes of red and blue. To find out whether the incident had any lasting effects, Dr. Akihisa Okumura and colleagues in Nagoya sent questionnaires to doctors who had treated 103 "Pokemon" patients in the prefecture, or state, of Aichi. They got back results for 91 patients. Twenty-five had had at least one more convulsion in the five years since the "Pokemon" episode. They were divided almost evenly between those diagnosed with epilepsy and those who weren't. However, electroencephalograms revealed that 10 of the 13 who had not been diagnosed with epilepsy did, in fact, have the disease. Copyright © 2004, The Associated Press

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: 5866 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Some dogs can predict when a child will have an epileptic seizure, a new study has revealed. These dogs not only protect their charges from injuries, such as falling, but also seem to help kids deal with the daily struggle of epilepsy. Nine of the 60 dogs in the study (15 per cent) were able to predict a seizure by licking, whimpering, or standing next to the child. These dogs were remarkably accurate - they predicted 80 per cent of seizures, with no false reports. However, those interested in owning a dog with these skills cannot yet just order one. The dogs were not trained, but instead began predicting seizures spontaneously within a month of moving in with their owners. "No one is reliably training such dogs yet," says Adam Kirton, a neurologist at Alberta Children's Hospital in Canada and lead author of the study. His group is looking into setting up a training program. However, some epilepsy patients do have already dogs that have been trained to protect them during a seizure. © 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: 5688 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Flexible brain-wiring could guard against epilepsy. TANGUY CHOUARD The nervous system is not hard-wired, according to research on spinal cord cells in tadpole embryos. Nerve cells can change their function as they develop, responding to their own electrical activity rather than playing a role that is preordained by genetics, say US biologists. Scientists thought that the precise nature of each nerve cell was determined by an irreversible programme of development, initiated by the cell's genetic code. But Nick Spitzer and his fellow neurobiologists from the University of California, San Diego, challenge that fatalistic view in this week's Nature1,2. The team finds that certain patterns of electrical activity in a young nerve cell can override its basic genetic instructions, changing the way that the cell will communicate with its peers. Nerve cells use neurotransmitter chemicals to talk to each other, and different chemicals will either excite or inhibit activity in neighbouring cells. © Nature News Service / Macmillan Magazines Ltd 2003

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; 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: 5577 - Posted: 06.24.2010

A scathing report has led to the sudden removal of a well-known British epilepsy researcher as the director of the National Neuroscience Institute (NNI) in Singapore. Simon Shorvon, 54, was fired from the institute on 4 April after an investigation found he had compromised patients' safety and well-being during a clinical trial involving patients with Parkinson's disease. "This shows that people can't get away with shortcuts in Singapore," says Lim Pin, a member of the investigative panel and chair of Singapore's Bioethics Advisory Committee. "We're very protective and jealous about our reputation." Shorvon, while acknowledging he made mistakes, says the panel used some extraordinary tactics, such as locking him out of his office and going through years of e-mails, and that its overall conclusion was too harsh. The $5.6 million study was funded by the Singaporean government and aimed at elucidating the genetic basis of Parkinson's disease and two other disorders. When recruitment for the trial was lagging, the panel says, Shorvon and his colleague, Ramachandran Viswanathan, obtained lists of Parkinson's patients from two hospitals and started contacting patients directly. That was a breach of confidentiality, the panel concluded. Equally serious was Shorvon's failure to inform the ethical oversight committee and the patients themselves that participation would require them not only to donate blood but also to briefly halt their medication and undergo extensive tests. Neither step was mentioned in the consent forms signed by patients. Although the procedures weren't life-threatening, the panel says, the assessment caused severe discomfort in some patients and put them at risk of complications. The 127 patients involved "were treated like experimental subjects, without any rights," the panel concludes. Copyright © 2003 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 11: Motor Control and Plasticity
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 5: The Sensorimotor System
Link ID: 3668 - Posted: 06.24.2010

BY TRACY WHEELER Knight Ridder Newspapers AKRON, Ohio - KRT NEWSFEATURES (KRT) - His friends abandoned him. His parents fired him for his own safety. Dating? Not a chance. Epilepsy - and the frequent seizures that came with it - was stealing Mike Tribout's life. ``I didn't want to accept that I had epilepsy,'' the 32-year-old Canton resident says. ``It took me a long time to accept it. Friends who I thought were my friends didn't want anything to do with me. ... I was getting pretty depressed about it. © 2003, Akron Beacon Journal

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: 3464 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Implant stimulates nerve in the neck to interrupt brain signals SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER STAFF AND NEWS SERVICES A treatment used by thousands of people with epilepsy may offer hope for those suffering from severe depression, Alzheimer's disease and chronic migraines. Results of 35 studies of vagus nerve stimulation therapy are being presented at the American Epilepsy Society's annual meeting, which began Friday in Seattle. The meeting gives more than 2,000 academics and medical professionals the chance to share the latest research on a disorder that affects 3 million Americans and costs $12.5 billion annually in medical care. ©1999-2002 Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 12: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavioral Disorders
Link ID: 3133 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By SHAWN FLOYD , In the days before Vagus Nerve Stimulator implants, Daniel Knorp's day-to-day life was totally unpredictable. "I was in and out of the hospital a lot, mostly in," said Daniel, a 17-year-old epilepsy patient. "Sometimes it took months before they could find the right kind of medicine for me that would work and that wouldn't get me so dopey. "Sometimes the medication adjustments and sick effects were as bad as the seizures." Copyright © 1995 - 2002 PowerOne Media, Inc.

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: 3013 - Posted: 06.24.2010

There are plenty of genes to work with when treating epilepsy, but real therapeutic results lie in the distant future By Laura DeFrancesco Treating people who have seizure disorders is a little like playing roulette. Place a bet on a drug from column A and hope for a hit. If that drug doesn't work, try one from column B. This process can drag on for months or years, and for many people with epilepsy--between 25% and 30%--relief from seizures never comes. With 40 to 50 million people experiencing seizures worldwide, this means that huge numbers of people receive no benefit from treatment. One might think that epilepsy would be the poster child for pharmacogenomics. Steering people to the right personal drug would save billions in medical costs, plus reduce their pain and suffering. An Epilepsy Foundation study found that this disease costs the United States $12.5 billion annually, mostly stemming from loss of productivity borne largely by those with intractable or poorly controlled epilepsy.1 But what makes epilepsy so difficult to treat is that more often than not, the seizure's cause is unknown. Familial forms exist, and certain injuries and conditions such as head trauma or a brain tumor can cause it, but these cases are the exception. Most people who have seizures don't know why, and physicians cannot predict whether another will occur, and whether patients need treatment. ©2002, The Scientist Inc.

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: 2729 - Posted: 06.24.2010

AFP Out-of-body experiences, which in the 1970s became popularly attributed to intervention by God or by space aliens, are likely to emanate from a more mundane source: our own minds. Swiss neurologists believe the sensation of floating above one's body or feeling being disconnected from it, an experience sometimes recounted by people who have had surgery, is triggered by the angular gyrus, in the right cortex of the human brain. A team led by Olaf Blanke at Geneva University Hospital used electrodes to stimulate the brain of a 43-year-old woman who had suffered chronic epileptic seizures for 11 years. Copyright 2002 AFP. Copyright © 2002 Discovery Communications Inc.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 2675 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By Kay Harris VALDOSTA -- Epileptic seizures affect 1 percent of the population. People can suffer through seizures for years without even knowing it, and the disorder can be misdiagnosed or mistaken for other ailments. The only way to know for sure if a patient is suffering from epileptic episodes is by hooking them up to an EEG (electroencephalograph) which records the electrical activity of the brain. The results are shown as a graph with multiple lines of waves which a doctor can then use to make a diagnosis. Traditional EEG machines are used in an outpatient setting with the patient brought in and hooked up to multiple electrodes for 40 minutes to an hour. If an episode doesn't occur during the time period, it may be missed, and the patient loses work or school time for the test. ©2001 SGAOnline.com. All rights reserved

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: 2521 - Posted: 06.24.2010

The Indiana University School of Medicine is one of six institutions in the nation participating in the National Institutes of Health clinical trial of a new, non-invasive surgical procedure to eliminate epileptic seizures due to intractable epilepsy. "This is the first clinical trial in the United States of this promising treatment for epilepsy," says Paul DesRosiers, M.D., assistant professor of radiation oncology and the principal investigator of the IU School of Medicine trial. "As many as 10 patients will be treated at IU in this trial which is designed to determine the most effective radiation dose for eliminating the seizure focus in the brain." Currently, the only approved treatments involve medication or invasive surgery. This new radiosurgery protocol uses the Gamma Knife to focus 201 beams of gamma radiation on the precise location of the brain responsible for the seizures. Copyright © 1995-2002 ScienceDaily Magazine

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: 2208 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Medications also linked to malformations and developmental delay By Nicolle Charbonneau HealthScoutNews Reporter (HealthScoutNews) -- Pregnant women who take anti-epileptic medications face a significant risk that their children will have problems ranging from congenital defects to slow development. A new British study adds to growing evidence that many commonly prescribed anti-epileptic drugs carry this risk, but the researchers caution that not taking the anti-seizure drugs could be even more harmful. Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder in which misfiring electrical impulses in the brain lead to seizures. About 2.3 million Americans have epilepsy, and more than a million are female. SOURCES: John C.S. Dean, M.D., clinical consultant, department of medical genetics, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, U.K.; Patricia McElhatton, Ph.D., head, National Teratology Information Service, and consultant teratologist and lecturer in reproductive teratology, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, U.K.; April 2002 Journal of Medical Genetics Copyright © 2002 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.

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: 1847 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Several diseases once thought to have very little in common now appear to share a key feature. Cell pores, known as ion channels, normally either directly or indirectly affect cell communication. But following a decade of research, scientists have found evidence that defects in the channels can give rise to a range of seemingly diverse diseases that intermittently attack patients who are otherwise healthy. The discovery may lead to new therapies that specifically target the channel defects and prevent the eruption of a variety of at tacks, including the seizures that are characteristic of epilepsy and migraine headaches. A man suffers bouts of muscle weakness. A young child shakes and convulses during a seizure. A woman's nemesis is blinding headaches. On the surface these afflictions, known as periodic paralysis, epilepsy and migraine, seem to share about as much in common as Britney Spears, Mozart and The Blue Man Group. A closer look, however, reveals that they all create intermittent, or episodic, attacks in otherwise healthy individuals. Copyright © 2002 Society for Neuroscience. All rights reserved.

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: 1356 - Posted: 06.24.2010