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Brain patterns reveal cause of epilepsy

Brain processes including proteins that are responsible for epilepsy are now known to scientists, according to Science Daily.

New therapies could actually be on the horizon for people living with epilepsy or anxiety, due to a breakthrough discovery by UNLV, Tufts University School of Medicine, and an international team of researchers studying how proteins interact to control the movement of brain cells.

The study, published in Nature Communications, provides new insight into ways to regulate a specialized “compartment” of cells in the brain that controls their signaling. If scientists and doctors can influence that compartment, then they can control the fast movement of brain cells, which may in turn stop or prevent seizures, among other things.

UNLV neuroscientist and lead author Rochelle Hines said that controlling patterns of activity are very important to the brain’s function.”If we can better understand how the brain patterns activity, we can understand how it might go wrong in a disorder like epilepsy, where brain activity becomes uncontrolled,” Hines said. “And if we can understand what is important for this control, we can come up with better strategies for treating and improving the quality of life for people with epileptic seizures and maybe other types of disorders as well, such as anxiety or sleep disorders.”

“That’s the piece that could potentially change textbooks: previousky, we had questions about how these pieces fit together and thought that maybe a group of three or more proteins interacted,” Hines said. “But our team’s research strongly suggests that there’s a very specific interaction between two of them, and this has implications for how neuroscientists might be able to regulate this area.”



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