Researchers at the Yale University have shown the possibility to suppress the development of epilepsy in its early stages.
This, they say, might help open the door to treating epilepsy as a preventable disease.
Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder. It is characterized by seizures, temporary loss of consciousness or muscular control that are precipitated by abnormal electrical overload on neurons within the brain.
The rat-based study, led by Hal Blumenfeld, M.D., associate professor of neurology, it was found that the 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. These findings are important because they set the stage for prevention of epilepsy in genetically susceptible people,' said Blumenfeld.
In the study, the researchers used a combination of molecular profiling, ElectroEncephaloGram (EEG) recordings, and power spectral analysis, and 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 added.
Blumenfeld said that the results must be confirmed in other animals and with other medications before moving on to human treatment trials.
The study is published in Epilepsia.