September 19, 2019

Epilepsy Research Findings: September 2019

This month, published among the important research discoveries that advance our understanding of epilepsy, was an article authored by CURE grantee Dr. Alica Goldman. This article identifies a new candidate gene for a disorder characterized by seizures called periventricular nodular heterotopia.

Other recently published findings include reports on how changes in the way specific brain cells (called glial cells) function can lead to seizures, why some people may stop breathing after seizures, and a study suggesting that the ketogenic diet is particularly effective in treating genetic-based epilepsy in children.

Summaries of these research discoveries and news highlights are below.

Research Discoveries & News

  • Epilepsy Genetics: Recently published work by former CURE grantee Dr. Alica Goldman has identified a new candidate gene for periventricular nodular heterotopia, a disorder characterized by seizures. The authors report that the candidate gene MEN1 was identified by utilizing a novel approach integrating electrophysiological and genetic methods to explore epilepsy. Learn More
  • Epilepsy Causes: Seizures may occur because certain cells (called glial cells) become hyperactive and release increased levels of the neurotransmitter glutamate, which may intensify seizures, a study found. Learn More
  • Epilepsy and Apnea: Having higher levels of serotonin – a neurotransmitter which, among other things, modulates mood and memory – in the blood after a seizure is linked to a lower incidence of seizure-related apneas (when a person temporarily stops breathing). Learn More
  • Ketogenic Diet: Infants and young children with epilepsy caused by a genetic abnormality respond better to treatment with the ketogenic diet compared to patients with other types of epilepsy, suggests a review of data covering a 10-year period at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. Learn More
  • SCN8A-Related Epilepsy: SCN8A-related epilepsy can be associated with a number of different seizure types that start at different ages, as well as delays in complex neurocognitive skills, suggests a recently-published study. Researchers noted that the study improves understanding of the neurodevelopmental effects associated with seizures for people with SCN8A-related epilepsy. Learn More
  • Medication Shortage: Teva announced that all strengths of its epilepsy medicine Gabitril (tiagabine) will be out of stock in the United Kingdom until the end of October 2019 as part of a “Europe-wide issue.” Teva added that the 10mg Gabitril tablets “may experience further disruption in supply in early 2020.” Learn More