Taking Flight Award, Funded by the Ravichandran Foundation

Abnormal Myelin in Absence Epilepsy: Cause and Functional Impact

Juliet Knowles, MD, PhD
Stanford University

Certain changes in the brain can lead to the development of seizures. With this project, Dr. Knowles and her team will explore the potential role of white matter in the brain, otherwise known as myelin, in this process. Myelin forms a covering around neurons and alters the speed that information is transferred between areas of the brain. Because seizures alter brain signals, they also likely alter the amount of myelin in the brain, potentially impacting the speed at which information is transferred between areas of the brain.

Dr. Knowles previously found that myelin is abnormally increased in a rodent model of absence epilepsy. Her current project will determine if seizures cause myelin abnormalities and if abnormal myelin contributes to the development of epilepsy and associated cognitive impairment. This work can help to pinpoint new therapeutic targets for multiple forms of epilepsy.


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