Links for Keyword: Epilepsy

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By Matt Richtel VALLEJO, Calif. — The adolescent patient turned sullen and withdrawn. He hadn’t eaten in 13 days. Treatment with steroids, phenobarbital and Valium failed to curb the symptoms of his epilepsy. Then, on Sept. 18, he had a terrible seizure — violently jerking his flippers and turning unconscious in the water. Cronutt, a 7-year-old sea lion, had to be rescued so he didn’t drown. His veterinarian and the caretakers at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom began discussing whether it was time for palliative care. “We’d tried everything,” said Dr. Claire Simeone, Cronutt’s longtime vet. “We needed more extreme measures.” On Tuesday morning, Cronutt underwent groundbreaking brain surgery aimed at reversing the epilepsy. If successful, the treatment could save increasing numbers of sea lions and sea otters from succumbing to a new plague of epilepsy. The cause is climate change. As oceans warm, algae blooms have become more widespread, creating toxins that get ingested by sardines and anchovies, which in turn get ingested by sea lions, causing damage to the brain that results in epilepsy. Sea otters also face risk when they consume toxin-laden shellfish. The animals who get stranded on land have been given supportive care, but often die. Cronutt may change that. “If this works, it’s going to be big,” said Mariana Casalia, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco, who helped pioneer the techniques that led to a procedure that took place a vet surgery center in Redwood City, Ca. © 2020 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN: 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: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology; Chapter 4: Development of the Brain
Link ID: 27516 - Posted: 10.10.2020

by Nicholette Zeliadt An experimental drug prevents seizures and death in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy that is related to autism, researchers reported 18 October 2019. The drug works by silencing a DNA segment called a ‘poison exon’ and is expected to enter clinical trials next year. If it works, it offers hope for treating not just Dravet, but other forms of autism as well: Another team has identified a poison exon in SYNGAP1, an autism gene that also causes epilepsy. Poison exons seem to impede the production of certain crucial proteins; blocking these segments would restore normal levels of the proteins. “The beauty of the technology,” says Gemma Carvill, assistant professor of neurology and pharmacology at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, “is that “any gene that has a poison exon is potentially a target.” Several teams presented unpublished work on poison exons in a standing-room-only session at the 2019 American Society of Human Genetics meeting in Houston, Texas. People with Dravet often have autism, and most die in childhood2. The syndrome typically stems from mutations in a gene called SCN1A, which encodes an essential sodium channel in neurons. Only about 25 percent of mice with mutations in SCN1A live beyond 30 days of age. The new drug consists of short strands of ‘antisense’ RNA that restore normal levels of the channel, said Lori Isom of the University of Michigan, who presented the work. And all but 1 of 33 mice that received a single injection of the drug at 2 days of age remained alive 88 days later. © 2020 Simons Foundation

Related chapters from BN: 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 2: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 13: Memory and Learning
Link ID: 27437 - Posted: 08.29.2020

By Lisa Sanders, M.D. The early-morning light wakened the middle-aged man early on a Saturday morning in 2003. He felt his 51-year-old wife move behind him and turned to see her whole body jerking erratically. He was a physician, a psychiatrist, and knew immediately that she was having a seizure. He grabbed his phone and dialed 911. His healthy, active wife had never had a seizure before. But this was only the most recent strange episode his wife had been through over the past 18 months. A year and a half earlier, the man returned to his suburban Pittsburgh home after a day of seeing patients and found his wife sitting in the kitchen, her hair soaking wet. He asked if she had just taken a shower. No, she answered vaguely, without offering anything more. Before he could ask her why she was so sweaty, their teenage son voiced his own observations. Earlier that day, the boy reported, “She wasn’t making any sense.” That wasn’t like her. Weeks later, his daughter reported that when she arrived home from school, she heard a banging sound in a room in the attic. She found her mother under a futon bed, trying to sit up and hitting her head on the wooden slats underneath. Her mother said she was looking for something, but she was obviously confused. The daughter helped her mother up and brought her some juice, which seemed to help. With both episodes, the children reported that their mother didn’t seem upset or distressed. The woman, who had trained as a psychiatrist before giving up her practice to stay with the kids, had no recollection of these odd events. The Problem Is Sugar Her husband persuaded her to see her primary-care doctor. Upon hearing about these strange spells, the physician said she suspected that her patient was having episodes of hypoglycemia. Very low blood sugar sends the body into a panicked mode of profuse sweating, shaking, weakness and, in severe cases, confusion. She referred her to a local endocrinologist. © 2020 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN: 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 2: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 27341 - Posted: 07.02.2020

By Lisa Sanders, M.D. “Honey” — the woman could hear fear tightening her husband’s voice as he called out to her — “I think your mother just died.” She ran into the living room. Her 78-year-old mother sat rigid in a chair, her skin gray and lifeless. Her eyes were open but all white, as if she were trying to see the back of her own skull. Then her arms started to make little jerking movements; her lips parted as saliva seeped out the corner of her mouth onto her chin. Then her body slumped. She seemed awake but confused after this seizure-like episode. Should I call an ambulance? the husband asked. No, his wife responded. Her mother had a complicated medical history, including a kidney transplant 12 years before and an autoimmune disease. An ambulance would want to take her to the nearby Hartford Hospital. But her doctors were at Yale New Haven Hospital — some 30 miles from their home in Cromwell, Conn. They helped the woman into the car. It was only a half-hour drive to the hospital that March 10 evening, but it seemed to last forever. Would her mother make it? Her eyes were closed, and she looked very pale. Her other daughter worked at the hospital and was waiting with a wheelchair when they arrived. The daughters made sure that the doctors and nurses knew that their mother took two medications to keep her immune system from killing her transplanted kidney. Because of those immune-suppressing drugs, she’d had many infections over the years. Six months earlier, she nearly lost her kidney to a particularly aggressive bacterium. She’d been well since then, until a few days earlier when she came down with a cold. It was just a sore throat and a runny nose, but the couple were worried enough to move her into their home to keep an eye on her. She didn’t want to eat because of the pain in her throat, but otherwise she seemed to be doing well. © 2020 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 1: Introduction: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 20:
Link ID: 27224 - Posted: 04.30.2020

Merrit Kennedy As doctors in London performed surgery on Dagmar Turner's brain, the sound of a violin filled the operating room. The music came from the patient on the operating table. In a video from the surgery, the violinist moves her bow up and down as surgeons behind a plastic sheet work to remove her brain tumor. The King's College Hospital surgeons woke her up in the middle of the operation in order to ensure they did not compromise parts of the brain necessary for playing the violin, such as parts that control precise hand movements and coordination. "We knew how important the violin is to Dagmar, so it was vital that we preserved function in the delicate areas of her brain that allowed her to play," Keyoumars Ashkan, a neurosurgeon at King's College Hospital, said in a press release. Turner, 53, learned that she had a slow-growing tumor in 2013. Late last year, doctors found that it had become more aggressive and the violinist decided to have surgery to remove it. In an interview with ITV News, Turner recalled doctors telling her, "Your tumor is on the right-hand side, so it will not affect your right-hand side, it will affect your left-hand side." "And I'm just like, 'Oh, hang on, this is my most important part. My job these days is playing the violin,' " she said, making a motion of pushing down violin strings with her left hand. Ashkan, an accomplished pianist, and his colleagues came up with a plan to keep the hand's functions intact. © 2020 npr

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 11: Motor Control and Plasticity
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 5: The Sensorimotor System
Link ID: 27054 - Posted: 02.20.2020

By Jennifer Couzin-Frankel Andrea VonMarkle arrived in Madison by helicopter ambulance 2 years ago, her life hanging in the balance. One month earlier she'd been a healthy 21-year-old juggling community college, waitressing, and weightlifting at a local gym. But after several weeks of feeling vaguely ill and forgetful, she was struck by a terrifying crisis. On New Year's Eve, VonMarkle's aunt had returned to the home they shared in northern Michigan to find her niece in trouble. "The door was open, and our dog was running down the street," VonMarkle says of the scene that greeted her aunt. "I just kept saying, ‘I don't know what's going on, and I don't know why I don't know.’" Then she started seizing. The seizures, which VonMarkle had never experienced before, didn't stop. Doctors at a local hospital were unable to quell her brain's electrical storm with powerful antiseizure medications. Because unremitting seizures can destroy brain tissue and damage other organs, the doctors put her into a medically induced coma. "They didn't know what to do with me," she says, "so they flew me to Madison," where the University of Wisconsin hospital had more resources and staff. VonMarkle, unconscious for weeks, wouldn't find out until much later what a stroke of luck that was. She became one of the first people whose sudden-onset, life-threatening epilepsy would be treated in a whole new way: not with standard antiseizure medications, but by disabling the deeper roots of the disease. For her, that meant a drug normally used for arthritis that seemed to soothe the inflammation powering her seizures. © 2019 American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 26896 - Posted: 12.13.2019

There are three treatment options commonly used by doctors in the emergency room to treat patients with refractory status epilepticus, severe seizures that continue even after benzodiazepine medications, which are effective in controlling seizures in more than two-thirds of patients. New findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine reveal that the three drugs, levetiracetam, fosphenytoin, and valproate, are equally safe and effective in treating patients with this condition. The study was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health. “Doctors can be confident that the particular treatment they choose for their patients with status epilepticus is safe and effective and may help them avoid the need to intubate the patient as well as stays in the intensive care unit,” said Robin Conwit, M.D., NINDS program director and an author of the study. “This was a truly collaborative, multidisciplinary study that involved pediatricians, emergency medicine doctors, neurologists, pharmacologists, and biostatisticians all contributing their expertise.” In the Established Status Epilepticus Treatment Trial (ESETT), led by Robert Silbergleit, M.D., professor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Jordan Elm, Ph.D., professor at Medical University of South Carolina; James Chamberlain, M.D., professor at George Washington University; and Jaideep Kapur, M.B., B.S., Ph.D., professor at the University of Virginia, more than 380 children and adults were randomized to receive levetiracetam, fosphenytoin, or valproate when they came to the emergency room experiencing a seizure. The researchers were trying to determine which of the anticonvulsant drugs was most effective in stopping seizures and improving a patient’s level of responsiveness within 60 minutes of administering treatment.

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 26870 - Posted: 12.04.2019

By Gina Kolata A new drug, created to treat just one patient, has pushed the bounds of personalized medicine and has raised unexplored regulatory and ethical questions, scientists reported on Wednesday. The drug, described in the New England Journal of Medicine, is believed to be the first “custom” treatment for a genetic disease. It is called milasen, named after the only patient who will ever take it: Mila (mee-lah) Makovec, who lives with her mother, Julia Vitarello, in Longmont, Colo. Mila, 8, has a rapidly progressing neurological disorder that is fatal. Her symptoms started at age 3. Within a few years, she had gone from an agile, talkative child to one who was blind and unable to stand or hold up her head. She needed a feeding tube and experienced up to 30 seizures a day, each lasting one or two minutes. Ms. Vitarello learned in December 2016 that Mila had Batten’s disease. But the girl’s case was puzzling, doctors said. Batten’s disease is recessive — a patient must inherit two mutated versions of a gene, MFSD8, to develop the disease. Mila had one just mutated gene, and the other copy seemed normal. That should have been sufficient to prevent the disease. In March 2017, Dr. Timothy Yu and his colleagues at Boston Children’s Hospital discovered that the problem with the intact gene lay in an extraneous bit of DNA that had scrambled the manufacturing of an important protein. That gave Dr. Yu an idea: Why not make a custom piece of RNA to block the effects of the extraneous DNA? Developing such a drug would be expensive, but there were no other options. © 2019 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 26688 - Posted: 10.10.2019

By Denise Grady The actor Cameron Boyce, 20, who died on Saturday, had epilepsy, and his death was caused by a seizure that occurred during his sleep, his family said in a statement. Mr. Boyce starred in shows on the Disney Channel, including “Descendants” and “Jessie,” and appeared in a number of movies. “Cameron’s tragic passing was due to a seizure as a result of an ongoing medical condition, and that condition was epilepsy,” a Boyce family spokesperson told ABC News in a statement on Tuesday night. The Los Angeles County coroner’s office conducted an autopsy, but said it was awaiting the results of additional tests before determining an official cause of death. The most likely cause of his death was Sudep, or sudden unexpected death in epilepsy, said Dr. Orrin Devinsky, director of NYU Langone’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center in Manhattan. He was not involved in Mr. Boyce’s care. Each year, about one in 1,000 people with epilepsy die from this disorder. In the United States, there are about 2,600 such deaths a year, though neurologists suspect that figure is an undercount. “It can happen to anyone with epilepsy,” Dr. Devinsky said. “Even the first seizure could be the last one. The more uncontrolled the seizures, the more severe, and the more they occur in sleep, the higher the risk.” About 70 percent of cases occur during sleep, and the people are often found facedown in bed. Usually, they have been sleeping alone. The probable cause of death is that the person stops breathing. A severe seizure can temporarily shut down the brain, including the centers that control respiration, Dr. Devinsky said. © 2019 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 26408 - Posted: 07.11.2019

Strobe lighting at music festivals can increase the risk of epileptic seizures, researchers have warned. The Dutch team said even people who have not been diagnosed with epilepsy might be affected. Their study was prompted by the case of a 20-year-old, with no history of epilepsy, who suddenly collapsed and had a fit at a festival. The Epilepsy Society said festivals should limit lighting to the recommended levels. Epilepsy is a condition that affects the brain. There are many types, and it can start at any age. Around 3% of people with epilepsy are photosensitive, which means their seizures are triggered by flashing or flickering lights, or patterns. The Health and Safety Executive recommends strobe lighting should be kept to a maximum of four hertz (four flashes per second) in clubs and at public events. 'Life-affirming' The researchers studied electronic dance music festivals because they often use strobe lighting. They looked at data on people who needed medical care among the 400,000 visitors to 28 day and night-time dance music festivals across the Netherlands in 2015. The figures included 241,000 people who were exposed to strobe lights at night-time festivals. Thirty people at night-time events with strobe lighting had a seizure, compared with nine attending daytime events. The team, led by Newel Salet of the VU Medical Centre in Amsterdam, writing in BMJ Open, said other factors could increase the risk of seizures. But they added: "Regardless of whether stroboscopic lights are solely responsible or whether sleep deprivation and/or substance abuse also play a role, the appropriate interpretation is that large [electronic dance music] festivals, especially during the night-time, probably cause at least a number of people per event to suffer epileptic seizures." They advise anyone with photosensitive epilepsy to either avoid such events or to take precautionary measures, such as getting enough sleep and not taking drugs, not standing close to the stage, and leaving quickly if they experience any "aura" effects. © 2019 BBC

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 10: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 7: Vision: From Eye to Brain
Link ID: 26323 - Posted: 06.12.2019

Hadley Freeman Like everyone else at this point, I have many questions about Brexit, starting with “why” and going from there. For example: are concerns about how Britain is going to cope merely “project fear”, as some Brexity folk still have it? Is it going to be like the blitz, as other Brexity people have promised enthusiastically? Such people include someone called Ant Middleton from Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins, who said last year in a tweet (since deleted): “A ‘no deal’ for our country would actually be a blessing in disguise. It would force us into hardship and suffering which would unite & bring us together, bringing back British values of loyalty and a sense of community!” Truly, there are few things as touching as a grown man playing soldiers by waxing nostalgic for a time he didn’t live through. And by “touching” I mean “nauseating”. I try to avoid writing about Brexit for the same reason I avoid eating my hair: you just end up choking on the pointlessness of it all. But one question has become too pressing to ignore: just how self-centred do you have to be to think the risk of making it harder for people to get necessary medications is an irrelevant niggle while you achieve your masturbatory fantasy of “sovereignty”? Sure, talk of insulin supplies, say, is a bummer when you are entertaining dreams of sailing victoriously back from Brussels beneath a St George’s flag, like George Washington crossing the Delaware in Emanuel Leutze’s painting, only less American (although, given that our supermarkets may soon be stuffed with chlorinated chicken from the US, maybe not). But for those who have long been dependent on certain drugs, these niggly questions make a no-deal Brexit less of a blessing in disguise. © 2019 Guardian News & Media Limited

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 26020 - Posted: 03.09.2019

By Kara Manke A new neurostimulator developed by engineers at UC Berkeley can listen to and stimulate electric current in the brain at the same time, potentially delivering fine-tuned treatments to patients with diseases like epilepsy and Parkinson’s. The device, named the WAND, works like a “pacemaker for the brain,” monitoring the brain’s electrical activity and delivering electrical stimulation if it detects something amiss. These devices can be extremely effective at preventing debilitating tremors or seizures in patients with a variety of neurological conditions. But the electrical signatures that precede a seizure or tremor can be extremely subtle, and the frequency and strength of electrical stimulation required to prevent them is equally touchy. It can take years of small adjustments by doctors before the devices provide optimal treatment. WAND, which stands for wireless artifact-free neuromodulation device, is both wireless and autonomous, meaning that once it learns to recognize the signs of tremor or seizure, it can adjust the stimulation parameters on its own to prevent the unwanted movements. And because it is closed-loop — meaning it can stimulate and record simultaneously — it can adjust these parameters in real-time. © 2019 UC Regents;

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 25830 - Posted: 01.01.2019

It started when Andi Dreher was only three years old. Her head slumped over, her face went blank. It was the first of many epileptic seizures that the Ontario child would endure. At the beginning, Andi would have a couple of seizures a year, but the condition slowly progressed. By the time she turned seven, she was having up to 150 seizures a day. Her family has come to call them "glitches." "The other day at school, she had 27 glitches in less than an hour," said her mom, Lori Dreher. The seizures make it difficult for Andi to do even the simplest tasks, such as walking, talking and eating. "She knows she used to play soccer and she used to do cheerleading — that she used to do these things and now she can't. That's hard." her mom said. 'We're guinea pigs': Canada's oversight process for implanted medical devices stuns suffering patients Among serious neurological conditions in children, epilepsy is the most common. For most, the condition can be controlled by medications. "But about one-third of children who have epilepsy don't respond to medication. A subset of them can potentially be helped by a variety of surgical treatment," said Dr. George Ibrahim, the pediatric neurosurgeon at the Hospital for Sick Children who operated on Andi. Dr. George Ibrahim, pediatric neurosurgeon at the Hospital for Sick Children, examines an image of Andi's brain. (Kelda Yuen/ CBC) When Andi and her family came from Kitchener to meet him last year, Ibrahim said he was struck by the severity of her case. "Her brain is developed in a very unique way," he said. ©2018 CBC/Radio-Canada

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 25784 - Posted: 12.13.2018

By Daphne Merkin A trauma is a trauma is a trauma. Or is it? Over the past decade, the words “trauma” and “traumatic” have been used so profligately and have entered our cultural discourse to such an extent that they have almost lost their depth-charge, the reactive implosion of psychic damage to which they were originally meant to refer. Everyone in this era is traumatized by everything, from inappropriate sexual come-ons to the use of language in novels by such literary greats as Joseph Conrad and Mark Twain now considered inflammatory in its assumptions about class, race or privilege. (Hence: trigger warnings, safe spaces and microaggressions.) The late novelist and critic V. S. Naipaul saw himself in an epochal battle against the cloudy and clichéd thinking to which this kind of easy resort to the dichotomy of the abused versus the abusers is conducive, replete with right-thinking but ultimately wishful ideas about the ways in which power and human nature interact. And then along comes a book, like Kurt Eichenwald’s “A Mind Unraveled,” that makes you rethink not only the concept of trauma but its potential impact — the ways in which trauma can work not only to weaken but to strengthen the character of the person who has experienced it. His remarkable memoir reads, unaccountably, like the most hair-raising of psychological thrillers, despite the fact that the saga of Eichenwald’s life as an epileptic from his late teens up until the present, when he has become a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, would not seem to contain the potential for so much suspense. He grasps the gritty issues surrounding his own very real trauma and often horrific experiences — from enduring frequent convulsions and losses of consciousness to the threat of being thrown out of college to losing jobs — with so little self-pity and so much regard for the compensations the world has to offer even to those afflicted as he is. It’s a quality that sets this book vividly apart from other memoirs that deal with suffering. For anyone who wants to understand the complex dynamic between environmental battering and the sort of inner strength that often goes by the name of resilience, this is the book to turn to. “I have lived most of my life,” Eichenwald writes, “knowing I could be seconds away from falling to the ground, seizing, burning, freezing or worse. Am I too near that window? Am I too high up? Is the oven open? I ask these questions every day.” © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 25578 - Posted: 10.16.2018

Mandy McKnight's son Liam has Dravet syndrome, a form of epilepsy that causes him to have up to 70 seizures a day. McKnight began giving the 10-year-old cannabis products about five years ago. "He'll always have Dravet syndrome, but it has definitely provided him with a quality of life that other medication failed to do," said McKnight, who is originally from Torbay but lives in Ottawa. Since that time, Liam's seizures have nearly stopped — his mother estimates they've been reduced by 90 per cent. Doctors have said they're hearing from more and more parents who have purchased cannabinoid products online and believe they are helping their children, but still have questions about appropriate dosage and formulas, said Lauren Kelly, a clinical researcher with a PhD in pharmacology working at the University of Manitoba. Parents are self-prescribing for a variety of conditions in children including epilepsy, migraines, autism and brain cancer, said Kelly, who co-authored a commentary for the Canadian Medical Association Journal titled "Clinical trials needed to study cannabinoid use in Canadian children." There are different types of cannabinoids, she said, and they have different effects. But because many of the products are unregulated, it's often not known exactly what dosage a child might be getting. ©2018 CBC/Radio-Canada

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology; Chapter 13: Memory and Learning
Link ID: 25428 - Posted: 09.10.2018

Lesley Mcclurg The first prescription medication extracted from the marijuana plant is poised to land on pharmacists' shelves this fall. Epidiolex, made from purified cannabidiol, or CBD, a compound found in the cannabis plant, is approved for two rare types of epilepsy. Its journey to market was driven forward by one family's quest to find a treatment for their son's epilepsy. Scientific and public interest in CBD had been percolating for several years before the Food and Drug Administration finally approved Epidiolex in June. But CBD — which doesn't cause the mind-altering high that comes from THC, the primary psychoactive component of marijuana — was hard to study, because of tight restrictions on using cannabis in research. Sam Vogelstein's family and his doctors found ways to work around those restrictions in their fight to control his seizures. Sam's seizures started in 2005 when he was four years old. It's a moment his mother, Evelyn Nussenbaum, will never forget. The family was saying goodbye to a dinner guest when Sam's face suddenly slackened and he fell forward at the waist. Article continues after sponsorship "He did something that looked like a judo bow after a match," says Nussenbaum. Two months passed before Sam had another seizure, but then he started having them every week. Eventually he was suffering through 100 seizures a day. © 2018 npr

Related chapters from BN: 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 2: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 3: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 25296 - Posted: 08.06.2018

Jessica Wright When Abigail was 19 months old, she took a ferry with her mother Gillian across the English Channel during a move from Germany to England. On board, she played with a Belgian toddler whose mother, a doctor, took notice of Abigail’s tight muscles and lack of language. (Gillian asked that we omit their last names to protect their privacy.) “What syndrome does she have?” the doctor asked Gillian. Gillian didn’t know. In the coming years, Abigail would receive diagnoses of autism and intellectual disability; she also has recurrent seizures. But it took 20 years to get an answer to the Belgian doctor’s question. In 2013, Abigail’s doctor, Meena Balasubramanian, enrolled Abigail in Deciphering Developmental Disorders (DDD), a study in which researchers sequence an individual’s genes to find the cause of undiagnosed genetic conditions. In Abigail, they found a de novo, or spontaneous, mutation in a known epilepsy gene called HNRNPU. Gillian learned of the result just last year. Over the past year, this gene has emerged as a new autism candidate associated with a neurodevelopmental syndrome. Finding the genetic cause for Abigail’s condition sparked Balasubramanian’s interest in the gene. She has since collected clinical information from six other people with these mutations, five of whom were identified through DDD. These participants share Abigail’s learning difficulties and seizures. © 1986 - 2018 The Scientist.

Related chapters from BN: 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 2: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 13: Memory and Learning
Link ID: 25250 - Posted: 07.26.2018

Shawna Williams The US Food and Drug Administration today (June 25) approved for the first time a marijuana-derived drug, Epidiolex, for the treatment of two rare forms of epilepsy. The drug contains cannabidiol, or CBD, and does not make users high while reducing the rate of seizures in patients with Dravet or Lennox-Gastaut syndromes, clinical trials show. “In my practice, I often see patients with these highly treatment-resistant epilepsies who have tried and failed existing therapies and are asking about CBD,” says Orrin Devinsky of NYU Langone Health, a lead investigator in the trials, in a statement released by the company that makes Epidiolex. “I am delighted that my physician colleagues and I will now have the option of a prescription cannabidiol that has undergone the rigor of controlled trials and been approved by the FDA to treat both children and adults.” Both Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut are relatively severe forms of epilepsy that can be fatal, STAT News notes. While there are other drugs approved to treat Lennox-Gastaut, there had previously been none for Dravet. Some parents have used unapproved CBD oils to treat their children. In a statement released today, FDA notes that it “has taken recent actions against companies distributing unapproved CBD products. . . . We’ll continue to take action when we see the illegal marketing of CBD-containing products with unproven medical claims.” © 1986 - 2018 The Scientist Magazine®

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology; Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology; Chapter 2: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 25148 - Posted: 06.27.2018

By Amanda Svachula Marcos Gardiana, a self-proclaimed Disney fanatic with five tattoos of Disney characters on his body to prove it, was excited to see the company’s latest blockbuster, “Incredibles 2,” on Sunday, and took his girlfriend along with him. He never got to see the end of it. Mr. Gardiana, 27, who has epilepsy as a result of a brain injury from a 2011 car accident, said he started getting lightheaded and dizzy in the theater. He had a “small” seizure at first, he said, and then a “blackout seizure, a full-on shaking seizure.” His girlfriend, Courtney Anderson, 21, led him to a bench outside. “He sat down for a minute, pale as a ghost,” she said. “He had a second, full-on seizure, eyes rolled back. And he lost consciousness.” Mr. Gardiana had apparently suffered seizures triggered by flashing lights during the movie, an unusual but also a well-established peril for some people with epilepsy. It was unclear whether the Walt Disney Company, which did not respond to requests for comment on Monday, had warned theaters about the danger. But beginning on Friday, the first full day of showings for “Incredibles 2,” signs began appearing in movie houses warning that a “sequence of flashing lights” may affect people who are susceptible to “photosensitive epilepsy or other photosensitivities.” But it appears that some epileptic viewers did not get the memo. Mr. Gardiana said he saw no warning signs in the Las Vegas theater he went to. The manager of the theater said that a sign had been posted on Friday but that she could not comment further. In Times Square, where the movie was showing at the Regal Cinemas, a sign did not go up on Monday until this reporter asked where it was; that theater’s manager declined to comment. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 25103 - Posted: 06.19.2018

By SHEILA KAPLAN WASHINGTON — A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Thursday unanimously recommended approval of an epilepsy medication made with an ingredient found in marijuana. If the agency follows the recommendation, as is expected, the drug would be the first cannabis-derived prescription medicine available in the United States. The drug, called Epidiolex, is made by GW Pharmaceuticals, a British company. Its active ingredient, cannabidiol, also called CBD, is one of the chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant, but it does not contain the properties that make people high. That makes it different from the “medical marijuana” allowed by a growing number of states. In those cases, certain patients are legally authorized to smoke or ingest marijuana to treat severe pain, nausea and other ailments. There are already several drugs on the market that are derived from synthetic versions of THC and other chemicals of the cannabis plant, generally used to ease nausea in cancer patients, and to help AIDS patients avoid weight loss. Advocates for development of marijuana-based treatments, and those pushing for better treatments of epilepsy, were pleased with the panel’s recommendation. “This is a very good development, and it basically underscores that there are medicinal properties to some of the cannabinoids,” said Dr. Igor Grant, director of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California San Diego. “I think there could well be other cannabinoids that are of therapeutic use, but there is just not enough research on them to say.” © 2018 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BN: 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 2: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 3: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 24889 - Posted: 04.21.2018