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Reasons Behind 'Stubborn' Epilepsy

by Savitha C Muppala on  December 8, 2009 at 11:09 PM Research News   - G J E 4
 Reasons Behind 'Stubborn' Epilepsy
Researchers seem to have found why a form of epilepsy does not respond to drug treatment.

Dr Mark Cunningham and his team at Newcastle University conducted a test on patients' brain tissue as part of the study.
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They found seizures were caused by electrical connections between nerve cells rather than chemical ones, which explains the reason why drugs are ineffective.

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The research proceeded with experts coaxing brain tissue removed from people with epilepsy, to behave as if it was still part of the living brain.

Electrical signals from individual neurons and networks of neurons in the samples were then recorded.he tissue was compared to with normal brain tissue activity.

The researchers noted an underlying 'noise,' a particular type of brain wave, which occurs in the intact epileptic human brain.

They found that the oscillation or "noise," a precursor to an epileptic seizure, was not controlled by the usual chemical signals which most conventional anti-epileptic drugs fight.nstead, the scientists observed that the oscillation was linked to electrical connections.

"This is exciting news for people whose epilepsy cannot be controlled by medication and an important development in our understanding of the condition," the BBC News quoted Simon Wigglesworth of Epilepsy Action, as saying.

He added: "Currently, there is no treatment to cure epilepsy other than surgery, which at the moment is only effective for small numbers.

"We hope that this research will move us closer to effective treatment".

Also, a spokeswoman for Epilepsy Research UK said the research was "very promising".

The study appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source: ANI
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