Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Childhood Epilepsy Research Offers New Hope For Seizure Control

Date:
October 23, 2007
Source:
Howard Florey Institute
Summary:
Scientists still do not know what causes epileptic seizures, but researchers are one step closer to solving this puzzle with the help of their newly developed genetically modified epileptic mouse.

Scientists still do not know what causes epileptic seizures, but researchers from Melbourne's Howard Florey Institute are one step closer to solving this puzzle with the help of their newly developed genetically modified epileptic mouse.

This is the first human genetic mutation based mouse model in the world that mimics childhood absence epilepsy (CAE). The mouse is now helping Dr Steven Petrou and his team to understand the genesis of epilepsy, which will aid in the development of better anti-seizure drugs.

CAE involves brief staring spells, during which the child is not aware or responsive. These episodes can occur one to 50 times per day and the age of onset is usually three to 10 years.

In about 30% of people, anti-epileptic drugs do not adequately control their seizures and many drugs have side-effects such as rashes, lethargy and memory problems.

Dr Petrou said new treatment strategies were urgently needed to create beneficial drugs without side-effects.

"The problem with current drugs is that they treat the symptoms, not the root cause," Dr Petrou said.

"To develop new treatment strategies we need to understand the genesis of epilepsy, and this mouse model should provide a window into that fundamental process.

"We all know seizures occur if the brain's cortex goes haywire, but something is happening prior to that event to cause neurons to misfire, and we want to understand that initial event.

"Because mice grow so quickly, changes in the brain can be readily seen and measured.

"In a week the mouse can go from no seizures to seizures, so we can investigate what changes are occurring in that period and what is happening in the critical time window that leads to seizures.

"Initial findings suggest there is a defect in the brain's cortex which may be related to the beginning of seizures in CAE but we are delving into deeper brain structures as well," Dr Petrou said.

The inherited human gene mutation that causes CAE was first detected by Dr Petrou's collaborator, Prof Samuel Berkovic from Austin Health. Through genetic manipulation, Dr Petrou has introduced this human mutation into the mouse DNA, allowing the researchers to study a mouse version of the human condition.

The mutation itself is rare in humans but it causes CAE, which is one of the more common forms of epilepsy.

Dr Petrou said that modelling genetic epilepsies in mice will allow researchers to understand epilepsy from the molecular level all the way through to physical behaviour.

"Creating this link in the human brain is impossible due to the highly invasive methodology required, so mouse models provide us with a unique opportunity to discover mechanisms of seizure genesis," Dr Petrou added.

Dr Petrou's research was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The Howard Florey is collaborating with Australian biotechnology company, Bionomics, to leverage this model for the advancement of anti-epilepsy drug discovery.

Epilepsy facts

According to the World Health Organisation approximately 50 million people around the world have epilepsy

More than 50% of children with epilepsy will outgrow their seizures as they mature, while others may have seizures that continue into adulthood.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Howard Florey Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Howard Florey Institute. "Childhood Epilepsy Research Offers New Hope For Seizure Control." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071022094524.htm>.
Howard Florey Institute. (2007, October 23). Childhood Epilepsy Research Offers New Hope For Seizure Control. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071022094524.htm
Howard Florey Institute. "Childhood Epilepsy Research Offers New Hope For Seizure Control." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071022094524.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Calling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a potential threat to global security, President Barack Obama is ordering 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the stricken region amid worries that the outbreak is spiraling out of control. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Nearly $1.0 billion dollars is needed to fight the Ebola outbreak raging in west Africa, the United Nations say, warning that 20,000 could be infected by year end. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: Ebola Outbreak Threat to Global Security

Obama: Ebola Outbreak Threat to Global Security

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is ordering U.S. military personnel to West Africa to deal with the Ebola outbreak, which is he calls a potential threat to global security. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins