Read the latest medical research on epilepsy and seizures including new treatments and potential cures under development.
Updated: 2 hours 56 min ago
Although cannabis had been used for many centuries for treatment of seizure disorders, medical use became prohibited in the 20th century. However, with the loosening of laws regarding medical marijuana, research and clinical use of marijuana-derived substances are increasing. This has prompted the publishing of an in-depth assessment of the potential of cannabinoids for the effective treatment of epilepsy. Cannabinoids are components of the cannabis plant.
A computational approach could enable more patients with epilepsy to benefit from surgery when medications do not help, report investigators.
Investigators have identified silent, seizure-like activity in the hippocampus -- a brain structure significantly affected in Alzheimer's disease -- in two patients with Alzheimer's disease and no known history of seizures. These alterations in the brain's electrical activity could not be detected by standard EEG readings and primarily occurred during sleep, a time when memories are consolidated.
Little is known about which specific areas of the brain contribute to a patient's epileptic network or the roles these different areas play. As a group of researchers now reports one way to get closer to the complex wiring of the human brain is by merging concepts from a timed-based synchronization theory and space-based network theory to construct functional brain networks.
A 15-year follow-up study of young adults with epilepsy found that those with uncomplicated epilepsy who were seizure-free for five years or more did as well as their siblings without epilepsy in measures of education, employment, family arrangements and driving status. Youth with complicated epilepsy had worse social outcomes and were less likely to drive, even if living without seizures.
Taking cannabidiol may cut seizures in half for some children and adults with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), a severe form of epilepsy, according to new information from a large scale controlled clinical study. Cannabidiol is a molecule from the cannabis plant that does not have the psychoactive properties that create a 'high.'
Consider two children who have childhood absence epilepsy (CAE), the most common form of pediatric epilepsy. They both take the same drug -- one child sees an improvement in their seizures, but the other does not. A new study has identified the genes that may underlie this difference in treatment outcomes, suggesting there may be potential for using a precision medicine approach to help predict which drugs will be most effective to help children with CAE.
The relationship between stress and seizures has been well documented over the last 50 years. A recent review article looks at the stress-seizure relationship and how adopting stress reduction techniques may provide benefit as a low risk form of treatment.
A first-of-its-kind mouse model could lead to an understanding of how cerebral malaria infection leads to the development of epilepsy in children, and to the prevention of seizures. The model -- a way for researchers to simulate the effects of malaria in children by using mice -- was developed in a collaboration between researchers of medicine, engineering, science and agriculture.
The first Australian nationwide survey on the experiences and opinions of medicinal cannabis use in people with epilepsy has revealed that 14 per cent of people with epilepsy have used cannabis products as a way to manage seizures. The study showed that of those with a history of cannabis product use, 90 per cent of adults and 71 per cent of parents of children with epilepsy reported success in managing seizures after commencing using cannabis products.
A relationship between epilepsy and heightened religious experiences has been recognized since at least the 19th century. In a recent study, researchers found a neurological relationship exists between religiosity -- a disposition for spiritual experience and religious activity -- and epilepsy. This finding sheds light on the connection between religion and neuropsychological processes within the human brain.
A novel statistical approach to analyzing data from patients with epilepsy reveals details about their brains' internal networks.
Lack of oxygen, not excessive stimulation, cause for half of seizure-related brain damage in epilepsy
Neuronal degeneration is the most severe long-term consequence of repetitive seizures in patients with epilepsy, which until now was thought to be primarily caused by excitotoxicity, or over-stimulation of the neurons. New findings indicate hypoxia, or lack of oxygen, due to abnormal blood flow may be to blame for as much as half the neuronal death caused by the condition.
Prolonged epileptic seizures may cause serious problems that will continue for the rest of a patient’s life. As a result of a seizure, neural connections of the brain may be rewired in an incorrect way. This may result in seizures that are difficult to control with medication. Mechanisms underlying this phenomenon are not entirely known, which makes current therapies ineffective in some patients.
In a small phase I and II clinical trial, researchers and colleagues elsewhere found that the high-fat, low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet was a safe and effective treatment option for the majority of adults experiencing a relatively rare, often fatal and always severe form of epilepsy marked by prolonged seizures that require medically induced comas to prevent them from further damaging the body and the brain.
New research using an Apple Watch app to track seizures in people with epilepsy finds triggers are often stress and missed sleep, according to a preliminary study.
The MRI-guided laser ablation method is far less invasive and time-consuming than conventional surgery and has produced good results for people with medial temporal lobe epilepsy, report investigators.
Previous studies have shown that anti-epilepsy medicine may lead to congenital malformations in the fetus and that the use of anti-epilepsy medicine during pregnancy affects the development of the brain among the children. There is still a lack of knowledge in the area about the general health of children who are exposed to anti-epilepsy medicine in fetal life. But this new study is generally reassuring for women who need to take anti-epilepsy medicine during their pregnancy.
New clues to the link between Nodding syndrome, a devastating form of pediatric epilepsy found in specific areas of east Africa, and a parasitic worm that can cause river blindness have now been uncovered by researchers. The study suggests that the mysterious neurological disease may be caused by an autoimmune response to the parasitic proteins.
'Bench-to-bedside' describes research that has progressed from basic science in animal models that has led to therapies used in patients. Now, a study describes what could be considered a direct 'aquarium-to-bedside' approach, taking a drug discovered in a genetic zebrafish model of epilepsy and testing it, with promising results, in a small number of children with the disease.