New CURE-Funded Research Projects to Drive Science Forward

We are delighted to announce new CURE grants awarded to three innovative epilepsy researchers, Drs. Detlev Boison, Chris McGraw, and James Gugger! Each researcher has a unique perspective and focus; Dr. Boison has been researching ways to prevent epilepsy for 25 years; Dr. McGraw, is a physician-scientist who is currently an epilepsy research fellow at Boston Children’s Hospital studying epilepsy genetics; Dr. Gugger is an epilepsy fellow at the University of Pennsylvania exploring a novel way to assess a person’s risk of developing post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE). We are honored to support the exciting work of these researchers.

To date, CURE has raised over $70 million dollars and funded more than 240 grants to support our mission of finding a cure for epilepsy. Read on to learn about the newest promising projects we’ve funded with the Catalyst Award, Taking Flight Award, and our partnership with the American Epilepsy Society (AES).

Catalyst Award Grantee
$250,000 for two years

The Catalyst Award supports translational research, where findings from basic research (studies that increase our general knowledge and understanding) are “translated” into the next phase of study to prepare potential new treatments for clinical trials.

Detlev Boison, PhDDetlev Boison, PhD
Rutgers University

For 25 years, Dr. Boison and his team have studied ways to prevent epilepsy. During that time, they have found that some individuals develop epilepsy when a substance in the brain called adenosine (ADO) is reduced.

Dr. Boison’s Catalyst Award project builds on a prior CURE-funded study which demonstrated that in an animal model of acquired epilepsy, ADO levels can be increased with a drug that blocks the enzyme responsible for reducing it, called adenosine kinase (ADK). The team’s goal is to optimize and test this potential epilepsy-preventing drug in the hopes of creating disease-modifying treatment options.

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Taking Flight Award Grantee
$100,000 for one year

The Taking Flight Award seeks to promote the careers of young epilepsy investigators, allowing them to develop a research focus independent of their mentors.

Chris McGraw MD, PhDChris McGraw MD, PhD
Massachusetts General Hospital

Dr. McGraw is developing a zebra fish model to enable the rapid screening of genes that enhance seizure resistance. This system integrates the latest advances in genetic engineering (Crispr/Cas9 technology) and non-invasive neural activity monitoring. Dr. McGraw predicts that by systematically discovering which genes underlie seizure-resistance in zebra fish, researchers can identify potential targets for the next generation of antiepileptic drugs for people with epilepsy.

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AES/CURE Training Fellowship for Clinicians
$50,000 for one year, funded 50% by CURE

These research dollars support trainees, fellows, and newly independent investigators working across the spectrum of epilepsy research.

James Gugger, MD, PharmDJames Gugger, MD, PharmD
University of Pennsylvania

Epilepsy can develop following a brain injury such as a stroke, brain infection, or head injury; however, there is currently no way to predict who will develop epilepsy following these insults to the brain. Dr. Gugger’s goal is to address this gap by using a special type of brain scan called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to identify changes in the brain that indicate an increased risk of epilepsy following a head injury. By better understanding why some people develop epilepsy after injury and by identifying which individuals are at risk, diagnostic tests may be created to predict epilepsy.

Learn More

Two doctors, a man and a woman, in blue scrubs look at a brain scan.

CURE Discovery: Inhibition of an Important Brain Enzyme Attenuates the Development of Epilepsy

In his CURE-funded research, Dr. Detlev Boison and his team found that an adenosine kinase inhibitor called 5-ITU increases adenosine levels in the brain, protecting it from seizures.

Key Points

Dr. Detlev Boison

  • CURE Grantee Dr. Detlev Boison and his team discovered that short-term use of a substance called 5-ITU prevents epilepsy from developing in mouse models of acquired epilepsy.
  • 5-ITU inhibits a brain enzyme called adenosine kinase (ADK) that regulates a substance called adenosine (ADO), which, in turn, plays a critical role in preventing epilepsy following an injury to the brain.
  • Dr. Boison’s groundbreaking work supports the development of improved, more selective treatments which aim to cure underlying causes of epilepsy, rather than merely control seizures.

Deep Dive

A graphic which illustrates the relationship between adenosine and adenosine kisase.One of the most common ways of developing epilepsy is through “acquired” means, such as a severe concussion, brain infection, fever-induced seizure, or stroke. A naturally occurring substance in the brain, called adenosine (ADO), plays a protective role by decreasing excessive neuronal activity1,2 and protecting the DNA in nerve cells from changes that contribute to the development of epilepsy.3 ADO levels in the brain are regulated by an enzyme called adenosine kinase (ADK) and, unfortunately, brain injuries often trigger a series of events that elevate levels of ADK. In his CURE-funded research, Dr. Detlev Boison and his team found that an ADK inhibitor called 5-ITU increases ADO levels in the brain and protects it from seizures.

To make this discovery, the team evaluated if short-term treatment of 5-ITU following an injury to the brain could halt the development of epilepsy over the long-term.4 To do so, they used a mouse model of acquired epilepsy that reliably develops seizures two weeks after an injury. The team first had to determine the appropriate time points to administer 5-ITU following a head injury. Over a two-week period, the team monitored the progression of brain tissue damage in their mouse model, along with ADK levels and changes in EEG, analyzing samples at different days post-injury compared to controls. The team found that by the third day, ADK levels had started to increase and continued to increase over the two-week time period, accompanied by a loss of neurons in an area of the brain called the hippocampus and changes in EEG patterns by the fourteenth day post-injury.

Reasoning that 5-ITU should first be administered when ADK levels initially rise, the team gave their mouse model the substance for a limited time – for only five days starting on day 3 post-injury – and continued to monitor the mice closely. After six weeks, the team found that the 5-ITU-treated mice had little brain tissue damage, significantly decreased ADK levels, and fewer seizures compared to the control group. Importantly, these changes were sustained even after nine weeks.

Discovering that short-term inhibition of ADK leads to a long-lasting antiepileptogenic effect makes this a promising therapy, especially since it could avoid any potential toxicities and intolerable side effects from long-term use of ADK inhibitors. Such a treatment would represent a true cure for epilepsy. Dr. Boison’s groundbreaking research supports the development of improved, more selective compounds which can one day be tested in clinical trials and, hopefully, approved for clinical use.

Dr. Boison’s Research Continues

For more than 20 years CURE has been on an unrelenting mission to end epilepsy. We have funded more than 240 grants in 15 countries to better understand the causes of epilepsy, uncover new therapies, and cure epilepsy once and for all. Now it is time to take those research findings one step further.

We are thrilled to expand our current research approach with the CURE Catalyst award, and to name Dr. Boison the first grantee under this new mechanism. This grant funds translational research, where findings from basic research studies are “translated” into the next phase of research to prepare potential new treatments for clinical trials. You can learn about the continuation of Dr. Boison’s work here.

1 Fedele, D.E. et al. Engineering embryonic stem cell derived glia for adenosine delivery. Neurosci. Lett. 2004; 370(2-3) 160-165.
2 Guttinger, M. et al. Suppression of kindled seizures by paracrine adenosine release from stem cell-derived brain implants. Epilepsia 2005 46(8): 1162-1169.
3 Williams-Karnesky, R.L. et al. Epigenetic changes induced by adenosine augmentation therapy prevent epilpetogenesis. J. Clin. Invest. 2013; 123(8): 3552-3563
4 Sandau, U.S. et al. Transient use of a systemic adenosine kinase inhibitor attenuates epilepsy development in mice. Epilepsia 2019; 60: 615-625.


Your support makes this research possible. Our researchers’ important work continues through the current public health crisis and beyond, thanks to generous donors who, like us, envision a world without epilepsy.

Epilepsy Research Findings: April 2020

Research findings reported over the past month include advances in our understanding of an area of the brain that may contribute to Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) in children, as well as intriguing discoveries about autoantibody-induced epilepsy. In addition, scientists are turning to plants to identify novel anti-seizure drugs (ASDs) for novel anti-seizure medications. Finally, we spotlight a development for a model of the NeuroPace responsive neurostimulator (RNS®), which will broaden its availability as a treatment option, and strike a precautionary note about the effectiveness of multiple epilepsy surgeries.

Summaries of these research discoveries and news highlights are below.

Research Discoveries & News

  • SUDEP in Children: A specific area of the brain called the amygdala may play a role in causing children to stop breathing during a seizure. The findings could have important implications for predicting, treating, and/or preventing SUDEP in children. Learn More
  • Immune System and Epilepsy: In some people with epilepsy, an autoantibody (an antibody that attacks a person’s own body instead of a disease-causing agent) appears to “sneak” into neurons in an area of the brain called the hippocampus, leading to inflammation and then seizures. This study also suggests that it may be possible to prevent these types of seizures with immunosuppressant drugs. Learn More
  • Novel Anti-Seizure Drugs (ASDs): Extracts made from magnolia bark, a plant used in traditional Chinese medicine as an anti-seizure remedy, reduced seizures in both zebrafish and mouse models of epilepsy, according to a recent study. The researchers state the isolated compound, magnolol, may serve as a starting point for the development of improved treatments for drug-resistant epilepsy. Learn More
  • RNS Device: The NeuroPace RNS system, model RNS-320, received FDA approval for use with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines. This approval means that epilepsy patients who require MRI monitoring can now be offered this model of the RNS as a treatment option as appropriate. Learn More
  • Neurosurgery: For patients with drug-resistant epilepsy who undergo multiple neurosurgeries, the likelihood of long-term seizure control decreases with each attempt, according to this study. Learn More

Study Compares Drug Treatment for Epilepsies Caused by Two Infectious Agents

Seizures are often caused by infectious agents that have invaded the brain and formed cysts, visible as circular lesions on medical imaging scans. These lesions cause victims to develop epilepsy. Two common infectious agents are a tapeworm, which causes neurocysticercosis, and a bacterium, which causes tuberculosis. Although antiepileptic drugs are used to treat both types of epilepsy, the duration of this treatment is still debated.

To resolve the debate, the incidence of seizure recurrence in patients with neurocysticerosis versus tuberculosis were compared. Results revealed that those with neurocystericosis are much more prone to seizures than are those with tuberculosis. Indeed, antiepileptic drugs can be tapered off in those with tuberculosis after 18 months with a low risk of recurrence.

Gabriela Carrillo in the Michael Fox research lab.

Scientists Show How Parasitic Infection Causes Seizures, Psychiatric Illness for Some

Think about traffic flow in a city – there are stop signs, one-way streets, and traffic lights to organize movement across a widespread network. Now, imagine what would happen if you removed some of the traffic signals.

Among your brain’s 86 billion neurons are the brain’s own version of stop signals: inhibitory neurons that emit chemicals to help regulate the flow of ions traveling down one cell’s axon to the next neuron. Just as a city without traffic signals would experience a spike in vehicle accidents, when the brain’s inhibitory signals are weakened, activity can become unchecked, leading to a variety of disorders.

In a new study published in GLIA on March 11, Virginia Tech neuroscientists at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC describe how the common Toxoplasma gondii parasite prompts the loss of inhibitory signaling in the brain by altering the behavior of nearby cells called microglia.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 40 million Americans have varying levels of Toxoplasma infection, although most cases are asymptomaticCommonly passed to humans via exposure to farm animals, infected cat litter, or undercooked meat, the parasitic infection causes unnoticeable or mild, to flu-like symptoms in most healthy people. But for a small number of patients, these microscopic parasites hunker down inside of neurons, causing signaling errors that can result in seizures, personality and mood disorders, vision changes, and even schizophrenia.

“After the initial infection, humans will enter a phase of chronic infection. We wanted to examine how the brain circuitry changes in these later stages of parasitic cyst infection,” said Michael Fox, a professor at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute and the study’s lead author.

The parasite forms microscopic cysts tucked inside of individual neurons.

“The theory is that neurons are a great place to hide because they fail to produce some molecules that could attract cells of the immune system,” said Fox, who is also director of the research institute’s Center for Neurobiology Research.

Fox and his collaborator, Ira Blader, recently reported that long-term Toxoplasma infections redistribute levels of a key enzyme needed in inhibitory neurons to generate GABA, a neurotransmitter released at the specialized connection between two neurons, called a synapse.

Building on that discovery, the scientists revealed that persistent parasitic infection causes a loss of inhibitory synapses, and they also observed that cell bodies of neurons became ensheathed by other brain cells, microglia. These microglia appear to prevent inhibitory interneurons from signaling to the ensheathed neurons.

“In neuropsychiatric disorders, similar patterns of inhibitory synapse loss have been reported, therefore these results could explain why some people develop these disorders post-infection,” Fox said.

Fox said the inspiration for this study started years ago when he met Blader, a collaborating author and professor of microbiology and immunology at the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, after he delivered a seminar at Virginia Tech. Blader studied Toxoplasma gondii and wanted to understand how specific strands of the parasite impacted the retina in mouse models.

Working together, the two labs found that while the retina showed no remarkable changes, inhibitory interneurons in the brain were clearly impacted by the infection. Mice – similar to humans – exhibit unusual behavioral changes after Toxoplasma infection. One hallmark symptom in infected mice is their tendency to approach known predators, such as cats, displaying a lack of fear, survival instincts, or situational processing.

“Even though a lot of neuroscientists study Toxoplasma infection as a model for immune response in the brain, we want to understand what this parasite does to rewire the brain, leading to these dramatic shifts in behavior,” Fox said.

Future studies will focus on further describing how microglia are involved in the brain’s response to the parasite.

Among the research collaborators is Gabriela Carrillo, the study’s first author and a graduate student in the Translational Biology, Medicine, and Health Program. Previously trained as an architect before pursuing a career in science, Carrillo chose this topic for her doctorate dissertation because it involves an interdisciplinary approach.

“By combining multiple tools to study infectious disease and neuroscience, we’re able to approach this complex mechanistic response from multiple perspectives to ask entirely new questions,” Carrillo said. “This research is fascinating to me because we are exposing activated microglial response and fundamental aspects of brain biology through a microbiological lens.”

The study’s other contributing authors include Valerie Ballard, a Roanoke Valley Governor’s School high school student; Taylor Glausen, a graduate student working in Blader’s laboratory at the University at Buffalo; Zack Boone, a Virginia Tech undergraduate student; Cyrus Hinkson, a fourth-year Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine student; and Elizabeth Wohlfert, an assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at the University at Buffalo.

Antibodies in the Brain Trigger Epilepsy

Certain forms of epilepsy are accompanied by inflammation of important brain regions. Researchers at the University of Bonn have now identified a mechanism that explains this link. Their results may also pave the way to new therapeutic options in the medium term. They have now been published in the renowned scientific journal “Annals of Neurology”.

Epilepsy can be hereditary. In other cases, patients only develop the disease later in life: as a result of a brain injury, after a stroke or triggered by a tumor. Inflammation of the meninges or the brain itself can also result in epilepsy.

Particularly dangerous are inflammatory reactions affecting the so-called hippocampus, which is a brain structure that plays an important role in memory processes and the development of emotions. Doctors call this condition limbic encephalitis. “However, in many cases it is still not clear what causes such inflammation,” explains Prof. Dr. Albert Becker, who heads the Section for Translational Epilepsy Research at the University Hospital Bonn.

Researchers have now identified an autoantibody that is believed to be responsible for encephalitis in some patients. Unlike normal antibodies, it is not directed against molecules that have entered the organism from outside, but against the body’s own structures – hence the prefix “auto”, which can be translated as “self”. The researchers discovered it in the spinal fluid of epilepsy patients suffering from acute inflammation of the hippocampus. The autoantibody is directed against the protein Drebrin. Drebrin ensures that the contact points between nerve cells function correctly. At these so-called synapses, the neurons are interconnected and pass on their information.

When the autoantibody encounters a Drebrin molecule, it knocks it out of action and thereby disrupts the transmission of information between nerve cells. At the same time it alerts the immune system, which is then activated and switches to an inflammatory mode, while simultaneously producing even more autoantibodies. “However, Drebrin is located inside the synapses, whereas the autoantibody is located in the tissue fluid,” says Dr. Julika Pitsch, who heads a junior research group in Prof. Becker’s department. “These two should therefore normally never come into contact with each other.” The autoantibody seems to use a back door to enter the cell. This is actually intended for completely different molecules: the so-called neurotransmitters.

Epilepsy Research Findings: December 2019

This month, the FDA approved XCOPRI, a new medication to treat partial-onset seizures in adults. This type of seizure is often difficult to control, so we are thrilled to see this treatment advancement.

Additional promising research news includes the advancement of a method of predicting seizure risk. Also, for individuals affected by Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a new Amazon Alexa skill offers engaging, interactive play options.

Summaries of these research discoveries and news highlights are below.

Research Discoveries & News

  • New Treatment: The FDA approved SK Lifescience’s XCOPRI (cenobamate tablets) to treat partial-onset seizures in adults. Learn More
  • Seizure Prediction: The new seizure risk assessment tool from Rice University, EpiSAT, received its first validation. The automated machine-learning algorithm correctly identified changes in seizure risk — improvement, worsening, or no change — in more than 87% of cases by analyzing seizure diaries. This prediction rate is as good or better than specialized epilepsy clinicians predicting seizure risk using patient histories. Learn More
  • New Technology: Eisai Inc. launched Ella the Jellyfish, the first Amazon Alexa skill designed for those affected by Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. This skill features capabilities such as interactive play, listening, and creative activities. Learn More
  • Status Epilepticus: New findings from a team, which included CURE Scientific Advisory Members Dr. Jaideep Kapur and Dr. Dan Lowenstein, reveal that levetiracetam (Keppra), fosphenytoin (Cerebyx), and valproate (Depakote) are equally safe and effective in treating patients with status epilepticus. Learn More
  • Post-Traumatic Epilepsy: Researchers from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) developed a cell therapy to improve memory and prevent seizures in mice following traumatic brain injury. In the study, the UCI team transplanted a cell type that can generate inhibitory brain activity into mouse brains. This process formed new connections with injured brain cells and prevented the mice from developing seizures. Learn More
  • Febrile Seizures: A study examined the cognitive functioning in children ages 4-5 who experienced febrile seizures. The research found that children with early onset of febrile seizures (especially those with recurrent febrile seizures) may be at heightened risk for poorer verbal and processing speed function, and possibly at risk for other cognitive dysfunctions. The findings suggest that these children would likely benefit from neuropediatric and neuropsychological follow-up, regardless of if they are still having febrile seizures. Learn More

Introducing the CURE Epilepsy Research Mobile App for research updates in the palm of your hand! Download today. iOS | Android

EEG Reading

Simple Machine Learning Scorecard for Seizures is Saving Lives

Computer scientists from Duke University and Harvard University have joined with physicians from Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Wisconsin to develop a machine learning model that can predict which patients are most at risk of having destructive seizures after suffering a stroke or other brain injury.

A point system they’ve developed helps determine which patients should receive expensive continuous electroencephalography (cEEG) monitoring. Implemented nationwide, the authors say their model could help hospitals monitor nearly three times as many patients, saving many lives as well as $54 million each year.

A paper detailing the methods behind the interpretable machine learning approach appeared online June 19 in the Journal of Machine Learning Research.

When a brain aneurysm leads to a brain bleed, much of the damage isn’t done in just the first few hours, it accumulates over time as the patient experiences seizures. But because the patient’s condition doesn’t allow them to show any outward signs of distress, the only way to tell they are having seizures is through an EEG. However, continuously monitoring a patient with this technology is expensive and requires highly trained physicians to interpret the readings.

Aaron Struck, assistant professor of neurology in the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and Brandon Westover, director of the Critical Care EEG Monitoring Service at Massachusetts General Hospital, sought to optimize these limited resources. Through the help of colleagues in the Critical Care EEG Monitoring Research Consortium, they collected data on dozens of variables from nearly 5,500 patients and got to work.

A Hit, a Hit-A Very Palpable Hit: Mild TBI and the Development of Epilepsy

In the United States, almost 3 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) every year. The vast majority of these injuries are categorized as mild (?90%) and do not require hospitalization. Mild TBI is also frequently categorized as concussion, and it remains controversial as to whether, and to what extent mild TBI is a risk for the development of post-traumatic epilepsy.

It is well established, on the other hand, that severe TBI can lead to the development of a range of negative sequela in humans, including epilepsy. Moreover, the epileptogenic effects of severe TBI have been confirmed in rodents following controlled cortical impact and fluid percussion injury. In both rodent models [of PTE], a craniectomy is performed to expose the dura, and injury is induced either by a rigid impact device or hydraulically induced pressure. Both models can produce severe injuries, including neuronal loss, hemorrhage, extensive inflammatory changes, and mortality. These models have provided a wealth of data about potential epileptogenic mechanisms of severe TBI, but do not provide insight into the effects of mild TBI on epileptogenesis.

To address this gap in knowledge, Shandra and colleagues developed a closed-head model of post-traumatic epilepsy in mice following repetitive, mild TBI.

Epilepsy Research Findings: June 2019

This month’s round-up of epilepsy news features an announcement about a new antiepileptic rescue medication, NAYZILAM®. This therapy is the first FDA-approved nasal treatment option for people with epilepsy who experience episodes of frequent seizure activity.

We also highlight many research advances, from the discovery of a compound found in fruit and honey which can inhibit seizures to the development of a new drug to treat Dravet syndrome. Research in the cannabidiol (CBD) space has also advanced, with the creation of a synthetic form of CBD which may be easier to purify and does not need to be cultivated from hemp plants.

In more sobering news, reports over the past month show that one-third of epilepsy cases go without appropriate treatment for up to three years following diagnosis. In addition, people with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) as well as epileptic seizures may be at a higher risk for sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP)during the years immediately following diagnosis with PNES.

Summaries of all highlighted studies follow below. I’ve organized the findings into three categories: Treatment Advances, Research Discoveries, and Also Notable.

Treatment Advances

FDA Approves NAYZILAM® Nasal Spray to Treat Intermittent, Stereotypic Episodes of Frequent Seizure Activity in People Living with Epilepsy in the US
Learn More

The FDA has approved a New Drug Application for UCB’s newest antiepileptic drug NAYZILAM® (midazolam) nasal spray. This therapy is a benzodiazepine indicated for the acute treatment of intermittent, stereotypic episodes of frequent seizure activity (i.e., seizure clusters, acute repetitive seizures) distinct from a patient’s usual seizure pattern in individuals with epilepsy who are 12 years of age and older.

Study Advances More Effective Laser Ablation and Standard Epilepsy Surgery 
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In the largest study of its kind to date, researchers across 11 centers analyzed data on a relatively new minimally invasive alternative surgery for epilepsy. These researchers discovered changes that could make the procedure more effective in both laser ablation and standard surgery.

Research Discoveries

Brain Network Activity can Improve in Epilepsy Patients after Surgery
Learn More

Successful epilepsy surgery can improve brain connectivity similar to patterns seen in people without epilepsy, according to a new study published in the journal Neurosurgery. The study of 15 people with temporal lobe epilepsy is the first to show improvements in brain networks after surgery compared to a group of healthy subjects.

New Drug Could Help Treat Neonatal Seizures
Learn More

A new drug that inhibits neonatal seizures in rodent models could open new avenues for epilepsy treatment in human newborns. Researchers have found that gluconate—a small organic compound found in fruit and honey—acts as an anticonvulsant, inhibiting seizures by targeting the activity of channels that control the flow of chloride ions in and out of neonatal neurons.

Research Looks to Halt Stress-Induced Seizures Following Brain Injury
Learn More

The likelihood of developing epilepsy increases significantly with a traumatic brain injury. Stress and anxiety increase that likelihood even more dramatically. Researchers have been able to demonstrate that an injured brain responds differently to stress hormones than a healthy brain. The research team showed abnormal electrical activity in the brain tied to these stress-induced seizures and, most importantly, found a way to stop this activity from occurring.

Synthetic Version of Cannabidiol (CBD) Treats Seizures in Rats
Learn More

A synthetic, non-intoxicating analogue of CBD was found to be effective for treating seizures in rats. Researchers note the synthetic CBD alternative is easier to purify than a plant extract, eliminates the need to use agricultural land for hemp cultivation, and could avoid legal complications associated with cannabis-related products.

AZD7325 Has Seizure-Protective Effect in Mouse Model of Dravet Syndrome, Study Says
Learn More

Treatment with AZD7325, a compound that stimulates an inhibitory receptor in the brain, has a seizure-protective effect in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome. This treatment significantly increased the temperature threshold animals could withstand without experiencing any seizures during a hyperthermia-induced seizure test.

Children’s Brains Reorganize after Epilepsy Surgery to Retain Visual Perception
Learn More

Children can keep their full ability to process and understand visual information after brain surgery for severe epilepsy, according to a study funded by the National Eye Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health. This new report from a study of children who underwent epilepsy surgery and suggests that the lasting effects on visual perception can be minimal, even among children who lost tissue in the brain’s visual centers.

One-Third of Epilepsy Cases Go Untreated up to 3 Years After Diagnosis
Learn More

A small yet substantial subset of patients with newly diagnosed epilepsy go without appropriate treatment approximately 3 years after diagnosis. This gap in treatment may be increasing the risk for medical events and hospitalization in these patients.

Study Suggests ‘High Risk Period’ for SUDEP for People with Psychogenic Nonepileptic Seizures in Addition to Epileptic Seizures 
Learn More

Findings of a recently published study suggest that patients with comorbid epileptic seizures (ES) and Psychogenic Nonepileptic Seizures (PNES) can die from SUDEP and that there may be a high?risk period after the diagnosis of PNES is made. The authors state such patients should be closely monitored and provided with coordinated care of both their epilepsy and psychiatric disorder(s).

Also Notable

Fralin Biomedical Research Institute Neuroscientist Awarded Grant to Study Epilepsy
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Featuring CURE Grantee Dr. Sharon Swanger

Dr. Sharon Swanger of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute was recently awarded a $1.7 million grant through the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to study the role of glutamate receptors in the thalamus – an area of the brain involved in seizure generation. “If we can figure out how each [receptor] subtype functions and modulate select subtypes, then maybe we can target therapies to the circuit where the disease originated while leaving healthy circuits intact,” said Dr. Swanger.

Tool Helps GPs Predict Risk of Seizures in Pregnancy
Learn More

Doctors, midwives, and others can use a new risk calculator to identify those pregnant women at high-risk of seizures and to plan early referral for specialist input. The specialist could determine the need for close monitoring in pregnancy, labor, and after birth, and assess antiepileptic drug management, according to new research in PLOS Medicine. The study authors added that the model’s performance is unlikely to vary with the antiepilepsy drug dose management strategy – and that it could save maternal and infant lives.

Development of Epilepsy Prediction Device to Improve Independence for People with Epilepsy
Learn More

The University of Sydney’s Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies is developing a system, NeuroSyd, which aims at real-time monitoring and processing of brain-signals while driving in a group of people living with epilepsy. NeuroSyd will be developed to deliver an early warning of the likelihood of an epileptic seizure.

Pfizer’s Lyrica at Doses 5mg and 10mg Fails Phase 3 Trial in Epilepsy
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Pfizer’s Lyrica has failed to meet its primary endpoint in a phase 3 trial in primary generalized tonic-clonic (PGTC) seizures. The study evaluated two doses of the drug – 5 mg and 10 mg – over a period of 12 weeks. Treatment with the drug did not result in a statistically significant reduction in seizure frequency versus placebo. Another phase 3 trial in May 2018 was successful, showing that a 14 mg dose of Lyrica resulted in a statistically significant reduction in seizure frequency versus placebo.