Study Shows Promising Path to Prevent Epilepsy
Durham, NC - Duke Medicine researchers have identified a receptor in the nervous system that may be key to preventing epilepsy following a prolonged period of seizures.
Their findings from studies in mice, published online in the journal Neuron on June 20, 2013, provide a molecular target for developing drugs to prevent the onset of epilepsy, not just manage the disease’s symptoms.
“Unfortunately, there are no preventive therapies for any common disorder of the human nervous system – Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia, epilepsy – with the exception of blood pressure-lowering drugs to reduce the likelihood of stroke,” said study author James O. McNamara, M.D., professor of neurobiology at Duke Medicine.
Conventional therapies to treat epilepsy address the disease’s symptoms by trying to reduce the likelihood of having a seizure. However, many people with the most common form, temporal lobe epilepsy, still have seizures despite taking these drugs.
“This study opens a promising new avenue of research into treatments that may prevent the development of epilepsy,” said Vicky Whittemore, PhD, a program director at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, who oversees the grants that funded this study.
Retrospective studies of people with severe temporal lobe epilepsy reveal that many of them initially have an episode of status epilepticus, which is often followed by a period of seizure-free recovery before people start to experience recurring temporal lobe seizures. Continue>
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