Caffeine can induce epilepsy in newborns

by Medindia Content Team on  December 29, 2001 at 2:40 PM General Health News
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Caffeine can induce epilepsy in newborns
A research has found that if women drink too much coffee during pregnancy can increase the risk of their babies developing epileptic seizures or fits.Studies have found that caffeine may be linked to the development of epileptic discharges in cells from newborn mammals that have been briefly starved of oxygen.

A research team from the Institut National De La Santé in France examined cells from the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is thought to control memory.They subjected the cells to the same level of caffeine found in several cups of coffee, and starved them of oxygen for three to four minutes. They found that the cells all fired at the same time - a phenomenon seen during epileptic seizures. Nothing happened if caffeine was not added to the preparation, or if oxygen was present.

The researchers believe that the caffeine molecules bind to receptors in the cells, blocking the action of a chemical called adenosine which plays an important role in handling stress. During stressful episodes such as oxygen starvation, adenosine protects the nerve circuits from uncontrolled activity.


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