Featuring Work by CURE Grantee Dr. Harald Sontheimer
Scientists at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have solved a 125-year-old mystery of the brain, and, in the process, uncovered a potential treatment for acquired epilepsy.
Since 1893, scientists have known about enigmatic structures called perineuronal nets wrapped around neurons, but the function of the nets remained elusive.
Now, a research team led by Harald Sontheimer has determined the nets modulate electrical impulses in the brain. What’s more, brain seizures can occur if the nets are dissolved.
The discovery, published Friday, November 9 in Nature Communications, has implications in various forms of acquired epilepsy, a type of seizure disorder that results from brain lesions caused by trauma, infection, or tumors in the brain.