For the over one million Canadians living with traumatic brain injury, the likelihood of developing epilepsy increases significantly because of their injury. When faced with stress or anxiety, that likelihood increases even more dramatically.
While a clinically well-known phenomenon, exactly what is occurring in the brain to cause this relationship has always been unclear.
Now, Western researchers have demonstrated a key factor in this relationship is that an injured brain responds differently to stress hormones. The team was able to show abnormal electrical activity in the brain tied to these stress-induced seizures and, most importantly, they found a way to stop it from occurring.
In a publication for eNeuro, “CRF Mediates Stress-Induced Pathophysiological High-Frequency Oscillations in Traumatic Brain Injury,” the research team used a rodent model of traumatic brain injury. When the animals were subjected to a stressful and anxiety provoking situation, all developed epileptic seizures. In controls with no injury, none developed seizure activity when a stressor was applied.