Early treatment stops epilepsy in its tracks

December 13, 2007
Early treatment stops epilepsy in its tracks
Yale graduate student standing in front of neuroimage. Credit: Yale University

Yale School of Medicine researchers have shown for the first time that it is possible to suppress the development of epilepsy in genetically predisposed animals—which could open the door to treating epilepsy as a preventable disease.

According to the study published this month in Epilepsia, early treatment of epilepsy-prone rats with the anti-convulsant medication ethosuximide before the onset of seizures led to a marked suppression of seizures both later in life and months after treatment stopped.

“Current treatments for epilepsy may control seizures, but they do nothing to alter the underlying disease,” said Hal Blumenfeld, M.D., associate professor of neurology and lead author of the study. “These findings are important because they set the stage for prevention of epilepsy in genetically susceptible people.”

Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder that affects about 50 million people worldwide. It is characterized by seizures—temporary loss of consciousness or muscular control—that are precipitated by abnormal electrical overload on neurons within the brain.

Using a combination of molecular profiling, electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings, and power spectral analysis, Blumenfeld and his colleagues demonstrated that ethosuximide effectively blocked the expression of an epilepsy-associated maladaptive protein within neurons of the brain and reduced the number of seizures in treated animals.

“These findings prove that prevention of epilepsy in people is an achievable goal,” Blumenfeld said. “Strategies for primary prevention of diseases like epilepsy will be increasingly important as genetic prediction of these diseases improves.”

He said the results must be confirmed in other animals and with other medications before moving on to human treatment trials.

Source: Yale University

Explore further: Research sheds light on epilepsy treatments – Why don't the fits stop?

Related Stories

Brain study may lead to improved epilepsy treatments

April 14, 2008

Using a rodent model of epilepsy, researchers found one of the body’s own neurotransmitters released during seizures, glutamate, turns on a signaling pathway in the brain that increases production of a protein that could ...

New direction for epilepsy treatment

March 28, 2011

If common anticonvulsant drugs fail to manage epileptic seizures, then perhaps the anti-inflammatory route is the way to go. That's according to Mattia Maroso and colleagues from the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.