Scientists at Trinity College Dublin point out a significant benefit in our understanding of epilepsy, as they have discovered a method that can be used to prevent dangerous convulsive activity.
Epilepsy is a chronic central nervous system (CNS) disease that affects about 1% of the world’s population, or 50 million people. Recurrent, spontaneous convulsions are a symptom of this, produced by disturbed electrical activity in the brain.
Although the brain makes up only 2% of the human body mass, it consumes more than 20% of the body’s daily energy production. To meet this high energy requirement (BBB), brain cells are supplied by an extensive network of capillaries known as blood-brain barriers. We assume that each brain cell is largely supplied by its own capillaries due to the size of these capillaries.
Trinity scientists believe that the integrity of these capillaries and BBB is a primary cause of convulsive activity in humans. But their latest research suggests that restoring that integrity helps avoid seizures.
According to the study’s authors, “drugs designed to stabilize the integrity of blood vessels in the brain may promise treatment to patients who are not currently responsive to anti-convulsant drugs.”
In addition to people with epilepsy, the work was also translational. Scientists have been able to show that BBB damage is a significant cause of convulsive activity using similar methods in humans and pre-clinical rats.
Furthermore, they were able to show that restoring BBB integrity can prevent seizures – thus bringing the findings closer to practical and useful treatments.
The first author of the study added that “stabilizing the integrity of blood vessels in the brain may be relevant for a wide range of other diseases and we are at the beginning of the process of carrying out research.”
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