November 14, 2018

Epilepsy Research Findings: November 2018

This month research revealed unplanned pregnancies may double the risk of miscarriages in women with epilepsy. In addition, fluctuations in the reproductive endocrine system in female mice impact neural activity, contributing to seizures.

News came out about a newly discovered genetic cause for epileptic encephalopathy, a severe childhood epilepsy syndrome. Another report states that a new high-tech bracelet has been found to detect 85% of all severe night-time epilepsy seizures.

Summaries of all highlighted studies follow below. I’ve organized the findings into four categories: Treatment Advances, Diagnostic Advances, Research Discoveries, and Also Notable.


Neuroene Therapeutics Awarded $1.5 Million to Develop Anti-Seizure Compound for Epilepsy

Neuroene Therapeutics received a $1.5 million NIH Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant to optimize vitamin K analogues which could improve seizure control in patients with drug-resistant epilepsy.

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Aquestive Therapeutics Announces Completion of Diazepam Buccal Film Adult Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) Clinical Study with Positive Topline Results

Aquestive Therapeutics announced the completion of a pharmacokinetic EMU study. The study demonstrated investigational diazepam buccal film (DBF) provides comparable bioavailability whether administered between seizures or during and shortly after seizures in adult patients with poorly controlled tonic-clonic seizures or focal seizures with impaired awareness.

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Generic Clobazam Tablets, Oral Suspension Receives FDA Approval for Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome

The FDA has approved abbreviated new drug applications for several companies to immediately market a generic version of clobazam (Onfi) tablets and clobazam oral suspension for adjunctive treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome in patients 2 years of age and older.

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New Causative Gene Found for Severe Childhood Epilepsy

An international research team discovered a new genetic cause for epileptic encephalopathy, a severe, difficult-to-treat childhood epilepsy syndrome. Spontaneous mutations in the CACNAIE gene disrupt the flow of calcium in brain cells, resulting in epileptic overactivity.

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Unplanned Pregnancy May Double Miscarriage Risk in Epilepsy Patients

The rate of miscarriage is doubled in women with epilepsy whose pregnancies were unplanned, a survey of Epilepsy Birth Control Registry participants found. Among women with epilepsy, spontaneous fetal loss occurred in 35% of unplanned versus 16% of planned pregnancies, the report notes.

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Effects of Epilepsy on Neural Activity in Mice Fluctuate with Reproductive Cycle

Mice with epilepsy have altered patterns of neuron activity in the portion of the brain that controls the reproductive endocrine system, University of Illinois researchers report. Female epileptic mice with endocrine disruptions had dramatic shifts in neural firing activity which fluctuated with the reproductive cycle.

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Staring Spells Are Epileptic Seizures Half the Time, Clinic Review Finds

Children with staring spells who were referred to a new-onset seizure (NOS) clinic were found to have epileptic seizures about half the time, according to findings presented at the Child Neurology Society annual meeting.

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Acetaminophen Can Reduce Recurrence of Febrile Seizures

Acetaminophen can reduce the risk for febrile seizure recurrence during the same fever episode among infants and children, according to a study published online in Pediatrics.

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A Novel GABAergic Dysfunction in Human Dravet Syndrome Suggests GABAA Receptors Could be the Target of Therapy

A dysfunction of the GABAergic system can contribute to a general reduction of inhibitory efficacy in patients with Dravet syndrome. This finding suggests GABAA receptors could be a target for new therapies.

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Seizures Start with a Spike in Inhibition

Studies at Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University have shown some types of seizure paradoxically begin with a spike in inhibition. Neurons that dampen neuronal activity may be responsible for starting the large-scale over-activation of a seizure.

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CURE Announces the 2018 Post-Traumatic Epilepsy Initiative Grantees

Having secured a $10 million grant from the US Department of Defense, CURE launched an unprecedented Post-Traumatic Epilepsy Initiative. Grantees in this team science, multi-disciplinary program will expand knowledge around the types of injuries which predispose the brain to epilepsy, as well as develop new models to study epilepsy resulting from injury.

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High-Tech Bracelet Detects Night-Time Epilepsy Seizures

A new high-tech bracelet detects 85% of all severe night-time epilepsy seizures, a much better score than any other technology currently available. The researchers involved think this bracelet can reduce the worldwide number of unexpected night-time fatalities in epilepsy patients.

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Epilepsy Society, University College London, and Congenica Join Forces in Genomic Study to Identify Causes of Unexpected Deaths in Epilepsy

The new collaboration between Epilepsy Society, University College London, and Congenica aims to improve the clinical understanding, prediction, and treatment of SUDEP. As part of the partnership, an initial joint study will look at a cohort of 100 SUDEP clinical cases to better understand the condition’s underlying genetic causes.

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