Featuring the work of former CURE Grantee Dr. David Henshall
A new study has found a pattern of molecules that appear in the blood before a seizure happens. This discovery may lead to the development of an early warning system, which would enable people with epilepsy to know when they are at risk of having a seizure.
Researchers at FutureNeuro, the SFI Research Centre for Chronic and Rare Neurological Diseases, hosted at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) led the study, which is published in the current edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI).
FutureNeuro and RCSI researchers have discovered molecules in the blood that are higher in people with epilepsy before a seizure happens. These molecules are fragments of transfer RNAs (tRNAs).
Using blood samples from people with epilepsy at the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin and in a similar specialist centre in Marburg, Germany, the group found that fragment levels of three tRNAs “spike” in the blood many hours before a seizure.
“New technologies to remove the unpredictability of uncontrolled seizures for people with epilepsy are a very real possibility,” said Professor David Henshall, Director of FutureNeuro and Professor of Molecular Physiology and Neuroscience at RCSI who was a co-author on the paper.
“Building on this research we in FutureNeuro hope to develop a test prototype, similar to a blood sugar monitor that can potentially predict when a seizure might occur.”