Epilepsy Press Releases
NIH invests $85 million for BRAIN Initiative research
Thursday, Oct 1, 2015
The National Institutes of Health announced its second wave of grants to support the goals of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, bringing the NIH investment to $85 million in fiscal year 2015.
New members selected for National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council
Thursday, Jan 29, 2015
Five prominent individuals from the neuroscience community have joined the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council, the principal advisory body to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health.
Winners announced in NIH-supported crowdsourcing contest of seizure prediction
Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014
As a result of two novel online contests, epilepsy researchers have some new tools to help accurately predict and detect seizures. The contests, supported by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the American Epilepsy Society (AES) and the Epilepsy Foundation, invited members of the public to develop computer algorithms to detect, predict and ultimately prevent epileptic seizures.
NIH initiates “Centers Without Walls” to study sudden unexpected death in epilepsy
Monday, Dec 8, 2014
Nine groups of scientists will receive funding totaling $5.9 million in 2014 to work together on increasing the understanding of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP), the leading cause of death from epilepsy. The consortium becomes the second Center Without Walls, an initiative to speed the pace of research on difficult problems in epilepsy by promoting collaborative research. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health, funds this initiative.
NIH awards $35 Million for Centers for Collaborative Research in Fragile X
Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014
The National Institutes of Health is making funding awards of $35 million over the next five years to support the Centers for Collaborative Research in Fragile X program. Investigators at these centers will seek to better understand Fragile X-associated disorders and work toward developing effective treatments.
Scientists use lasers to control mouse brain switchboard
Thursday, Aug 14, 2014
Ever wonder why it’s hard to focus after a bad night’s sleep? Using mice and flashes of light, scientists show that just a few nerve cells in the brain may control the switch between internal thoughts and external distractions. The study, partly funded by the National Institutes of Health, may be a breakthrough in understanding how a critical part of the brain, called the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN), influences consciousness.
NeuroBioBank gives researchers one-stop access to post-mortem brains
Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013
To expedite research on brain disorders, the National Institutes of Health is shifting from a limited funding role to coordinating a Web-based resource for sharing post-mortem brain tissue. Under a NIH NeuroBioBank initiative, five brain banks will begin collaborating in a tissue sharing network for the neuroscience community.
Scientists fish for new epilepsy model and reel in potential drug
Tuesday, Sep 3, 2013
According to new research on epilepsy, zebrafish have certainly earned their stripes. Results of a study in Nature Communications suggest that zebrafish carrying a specific mutation may help researchers discover treatments for Dravet syndrome (DS), a severe form of pediatric epilepsy that results in drug-resistant seizures and developmental delays.
NIH-funded study discovers new genes for childhood epilepsies
Sunday, Aug 11, 2013
A genetic study of childhood epilepsies has linked two new genes to severe forms of disease and provides a novel strategy for identifying therapy targets. This study used a cutting-edge genetic technique, called exome sequencing, to search for new mutations that are not inherited. The results suggest this may be a highly effective way to find and confirm many disease-causing gene mutations.
Silky brain implants may help stop spread of epilepsy
Thursday, Jul 25, 2013
Silk has walked straight off the runway and into the lab. According to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, silk implants placed in the brain of laboratory animals and designed to release a specific chemical, adenosine, may help stop the progression of epilepsy. The research was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), which are part of the National Institutes of Health.
NIH study uses Botox to find new wrinkle in brain communication
Thursday, May 2, 2013
NIH researchers used the popular anti-wrinkle agent, Botox®, to discover a new and important role for a group of molecules that nerve cells use to quickly send messages. This novel role for the molecules, called SNARES, may be a missing step scientists have been searching for as a way to fully understand how brain cells communicate under normal and disease conditions.
Learning may Spindle Tiny Parts of the Sleeping Brain
Thursday, Apr 4, 2013
How does the brain remember? A growing body of evidence suggests that sleep is important, especially a sleep stage called nonrapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. During NREM, the brain undergoes unique waves of electrical activity called sleep spindles. Previous studies suggested that spindles represent learning activity. Currently scientists are debating whether spindles occur synchronously, throughout the entire brain, or locally in the areas involved with something new.
MRI and EEG could identify children at risk for epilepsy after febrile seizures
Wednesday, Nov 7, 2012
Febrile seizures during childhood are usually benign, but when prolonged, they can foreshadow an increased risk of epilepsy later. A new study suggests that brain imaging and recordings of brain activity could help identify the children at highest risk. It shows that within days of a prolonged febrile seizure, some children have signs of acute brain injury, abnormal brain anatomy, and/or altered brain activity.
Breaking News from Society for Neuroscience 2012
Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012
Hundreds of NIH-funded studies are being presented at the 2012 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting. Here, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has highlighted a selection of studies and events led by our grantees.
National Neurological Disorders and Stroke Advisory Council welcomes four new members
Thursday, Sep 20, 2012
The NINDS announced that four new members have joined its National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council: E. Antonio Chiocca, M.D., Ph.D., David B. Goldstein, Ph.D., Byron D. Ford, Ph.D., and Amy Comstock Rick, J.D. The council serves as the principal advisory body to NINDS regarding the institute’s research program planning and priorities.
NIH-supported study shows how immune cells change wiring of the developing mouse brain
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Researchers have shown in mice how immune cells in the brain target and remove unused connections between brain cells during normal development. This research, supported by the National Institutes of Health, sheds light on how brain activity influences brain development, and highlights the newly found importance of the immune system in how the brain is wired, as well as how the brain forms new connections throughout life in response to change.
How nervous systems adapt to extreme environments (It's not always DNA)
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Like all machines, ion channels – the machines that power nerve cell firing and muscle contraction – operate less efficiently in the cold. That poses a challenge for animals that live in icy environments. A new study shows that octopi in polar climates solve the problem by modifying their ion channels through a process called RNA editing.
Autoinjectors offer way to treat prolonged seizures
Wednesday, Feb 15, 2012
Drug delivery into muscle using an autoinjector, akin to the EpiPen used to treat serious allergic reactions, is faster and may be a more effective way to stop status epilepticus, a prolonged seizure lasting longer than five minutes, according to a study sponsored by NIH. Status epilepticus is a potentially life-threatening emergency, and is usually treated with anticonvulsant drugs delivered intravenously.
Ultrathin flexible brain implant offers unique look at seizures in NIH-funded research
Sunday, Nov 13, 2011
NIH-funded researchers have developed a flexible brain implant that could one day be used to treat epileptic seizures. In animal studies, the researchers used the device – a type of electrode array – to take an unprecedented look at brain activity during seizures. Someday, these arrays could be used to pinpoint where seizures start in the brain and perhaps to shut them down, the researchers say.
NIH-funded research points to potential therapy for tumor-associated epilepsy
Sunday, Sep 11, 2011
Brain tumors called gliomas are often associated with seizures, but why the seizures occur and how to effectively treat them have been elusive. New research shows that gliomas release excess levels of the brain chemical glutamate, overstimulating neurons and triggering seizures. Sulfasalazine, a drug on the market for treating certain inflammatory disorders, reduced seizures in mice with gliomas.
X-Rays Reveal 3-D Structural Image of Brain Receptor
Wednesday, Nov 10, 2010
Researchers led by Eric Gouaux at Oregon Health and Science University have built a three-dimensional image of a glutamate receptor, a workhorse protein of brain communications. The scientists uncovered the receptor’s form by bombarding it with X-rays – a technology called X-ray crystallography. The findings are expected to yield new insights into receptors and their critical role in thinking, learning and memory.
From Touchpad to Thought-pad?
Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010
A study published in Nature found that when research subjects had their brains connected to a computer displaying two merged images, they could force the computer to display one of the images and discard the other. The signals transmitted from each subject’s brain to the computer were derived from just a handful of brain cells.
Scientists Find Possible Molecular Triggers for Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy
Friday, Sep 17, 2010
In the brains and hearts of animal models, neuroscientists have uncovered new clues about molecular triggers for sudden unexplained death in epilepsy, or SUDEP. Evidence from two studies linked SUDEP to faulty ion channels, protein gateways essential for transmitting electrical signals. The discoveries could help medical researchers predict or find ways to reduce the risk of death in epilepsy.
A Brain-Recording Device that Melts into Place
Monday, Apr 19, 2010
Scientists have developed a brain implant that essentially melts into place, snugly fitting to the brain’s surface. The ultrathin flexible implants, made partly from silk, can record brain activity more faithfully than thicker implants embedded with similar electronics. The technology could pave the way for better devices to monitor and control seizures, and to transmit signals from the brain past damaged parts of the spinal cord.
Clinical Trial for Childhood Absence Epilepsy Identifies Differences in Seizure Control and Side Effects
Thursday, Mar 4, 2010
The first comprehensive comparative effectiveness clinical trial of three widely used anti-seizure drugs for childhood absence epilepsy – the most common form of epilepsy in kids – has established an evidence-based approach for initial drug therapy.
Four New Members Appointed to National Neurological Disorders and Stroke Advisory Council
Thursday, Feb 4, 2010
Four New Members Appointed to National Neurological Disorders and Stroke Advisory Council
Better Understanding of Newborn Seizures Leads to Potential New Treatment
Thursday, Oct 29, 2009
Commonly used anti-seizure medications do not work as effectively in newborns as they do in adults and children. A new study funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) helps explain why, and suggests that effective treatment for newborn seizures could be a matter of repurposing an available drug and using it to supplement conventional anti-seizure therapies.
Dr. William Matthew Tapped to Lead NINDS Office of Translational Research
Thursday, Jul 30, 2009
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health, has named William D. Matthew, Ph.D., as director of its Office of Translational Research (OTR).
Spinal Cord Stimulation may be Alternative to Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson’s Disease
Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009
Electrical stimulation of the spinal cord relieves symptoms of Parkinson's disease in rodents, according to a new study published in Science*. The procedure might provide a safe, effective alternative to deep brain stimulation (DBS), a relatively invasive treatment for Parkinson's disease that is used when medication fails.
Tuberous Sclerosis Moves toward Drug Therapy, Offers Clues to Epilepsy and Autism
Friday, Oct 24, 2008
Three recent studies show that the drug rapamycin reduces neurological symptoms in mouse models of tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), a rare genetic disorder associated with epilepsy and autism. Scientists say those results could pave the way for effective treatment – and not just for TSC.
Four New Members Named to National Neurology Advisory Council
Thursday, Sep 18, 2008
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) has appointed four new members to its major advisory panel, the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council. The NINDS, a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is the nation's primary supporter of basic, translational, and clinical research on the brain and nervous system. NINDS Director Story Landis, Ph.D., formally introduced the new members, who will serve through July 2012, at the Council's September 18, meeting.
Early Treatment Prevents Full-Blown Epilepsy in Animals
Friday, Mar 14, 2008
For the first time, researchers have shown that treating epilepsy-prone animals with an anticonvulsant drug prior to the development of chronic epilepsy can significantly reduce the number of seizures the animals experience, even after the treatment stops. The study provides hope that researchers may eventually be able to prevent epilepsy in people who are at risk of the disorder because of genetic mutations or other factors.
Leptin Inhibits Seizures; Study May Lead to New Treatments for Epilepsy
Thursday, Mar 13, 2008
A new study shows that leptin, a hormone normally associated with eating and metabolism, can inhibit seizures in animal models of epilepsy. The finding may lead to new ways of treating epilepsy. It also may help explain how the ketogenic diet, which is sometimes used to treat epilepsy, reduces seizures.
NINDS Announces New Spanish-Language Website
Friday, Dec 7, 2007
Free, accurate information on many neurological disorders is now available on a new Spanish-language website from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The website is available at espanol.ninds.nih.gov.
The Structure of an Important Drug Target Made Crystal Clear
Wednesday, Dec 5, 2007
Scientists have produced detailed 3-dimensional images of a common type of neurotransmitter receptor, the class of proteins on the receiving end of chemical signals in the nervous system. The work, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is expected to speed the development of drugs for a variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders.
A Rollercoaster of Seizure-Like Activity May Damage the Alzheimer's Brain
Tuesday, Nov 27, 2007
Although seizures are not a common symptom of Alzheimer's disease (AD), the brains of people with AD could be humming with seizure-like activity, interrupted by quiet rebound periods that do more harm than good.
Scientists Zero in on the Cellular Machinery that Enables Neurons to Fire
Wednesday, Nov 14, 2007
If you ever had a set of Micronauts – toy robots with removable body parts – you probably had fun swapping their heads, imagining how it would affect their behavior. Scientists supported by the National Institutes of Health have been performing similar experiments on ion channels – pores in our nerve cells – to sort out the channels' key functional parts.
Imaging Neural Progenitor Cells in the Living Human Brain
Thursday, Nov 8, 2007
For the first time, investigators have identified a way to detect neural progenitor cells (NPCs), which can develop into neurons and other nervous system cells, in the living human brain using a type of imaging called magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). The finding, supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), may lead to improved diagnosis and treatment for depression, Parkinson's disease, brain tumors, and a host of other disorders.
NIH National Neurology Advisory Council Gains Five New Members
Friday, Oct 12, 2007
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) welcomes five new members to its National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council. The Council serves as the principal advisory body to the NINDS, a component of the National Institutes of Health and the nation's primary supporter of basic, translational, and clinical research on the brain and nervous system.
Better Prediction Could Mean Better Control over Epileptic Seizures
Tuesday, Mar 13, 2007
Despite conventional wisdom that epileptic seizures are random and unforeseeable, a new study shows that people can sometimes anticipate them, hinting at the possibility of treatments that could quell an oncoming seizure.
Six New Members Named to National Neurology Advisory Council
Thursday, Oct 5, 2006
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) has appointed six new members to its major advisory panel, the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council. The NINDS, a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is the nation’s primary supporter of basic, translational, and clinical research on the brain and nervous system. NINDS Director Story Landis, Ph.D., formally introduced the new members, who will serve through July 2010, at the Council’s September 14, 2006 meeting.
Javits Neuroscience Award Presented to Six Leading Scientists
Wednesday, Jul 12, 2006
Six outstanding scientists who target neurological disorders at the cellular and molecular level were recently awarded the prestigious Senator Jacob Javits Award in the Neurosciences. The award provides for up to seven years of research funding from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the nation’s leading agency for research on the brain and nervous system and a component of the National Institutes of Health.
Study Implicates Potassium Channel Mutations in Neurodegeneration and Mental Retardation
Sunday, Feb 26, 2006
For the first time, researchers have linked mutations in a gene that regulates how potassium enters cells to a neurodegenerative disease and to another disorder that causes mental retardation and coordination problems. The findings may lead to new ways of treating a broad range of disorders, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. The study was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
Study Finds Biochemical Defect in Juvenile Batten Disease
Wednesday, Jan 25, 2006
For the first time, scientists studying a fatal childhood neurodegenerative disorder, juvenile Batten disease, have identified a defect in transport of the amino acid arginine in cells from affected children. The finding helps researchers understand how the disease develops and may lead to new ways of treating it.
Epilepsy Can Be Triggered by Support Cells in the Brain
Thursday, Dec 15, 2005
For decades, researchers have tried to understand what triggers clusters of neurons to begin signaling excessively in epilepsy. A new study shows that, in many cases, the answer resides in star-shaped support cells called astrocytes. The finding may lead to new ways of treating epilepsy.
NINDS Announces New Javits Neuroscience Investigator Awardees
Wednesday, May 4, 2005
Four prominent investigators were recently awarded the prestigious Senator Jacob Javits Award in the Neurosciences, which provides for up to seven years of research funding from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
What's Old is New Again - Antibiotic Protects Nerves By Removing Excess Glutamate
Monday, Feb 7, 2005
A new study shows that a common antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections increases survival rates and delays nerve damage in a mouse model for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The antibiotic works by activating or "turning on" the gene encoding the glutamate transporter in neurons. This finding may lead to new drug treatments for ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Gene for Rapid-Onset Dystonia Parkinsonism Found
Thursday, Sep 23, 2004
Electrical Activity Alters Neurotransmitter Production in Frogs During Development
Investigators funded in part by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) have identified the gene responsible for a rare form of dystonia known as rapid-onset dystonia parkinsonism (RDP).
Tuesday, Aug 10, 2004
Scientists studying how the nervous system develops in frogs have found that altering the pattern of electrical signaling in individual neurons changes the kinds of neurotransmitters they produce. While preliminary, the finding may lead to a new understanding of how epilepsy and other neurological disorders develop and may even point to new ways of preventing or treating these disorders.
Valproic Acid Shows Promise for Treating Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Wednesday, Feb 18, 2004
Promising Gene Therapy Tool May Suppress Epileptic Seizures
One of the first studies of valproic acid as a potential therapy for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) shows that, in cultured cells, the drug increases production of a protein that is reduced or missing in people with the disorder. While preliminary, the study suggests that valproic acid or related drugs may be able to halt or even reverse the course of this devastating childhood disease.
Friday, Nov 14, 2003
Drug-Resistant Seizures Often Take Years to Develop
A new gene therapy approach may one day stop seizures in people with common forms of epilepsy, according to a new study. Researchers found that the new therapy suppressed focal seizures and seizure induced brain damage in rats.
Monday, Jan 27, 2003
Researchers Successfully Deliver Drugs to the Primate Brainstem
While about 80 percent of people with epilepsy gain significant relief from drug therapy, the remaining 20 percent have seizures that cannot be controlled by medications. Many of these people have a particular type of epilepsy called partial epilepsy. A new study shows that people with partial epilepsy often have seizures controlled by medications for years before their seizures become drug-resistant. The study also found that periods when seizures stopped for a year or more are common in these patients.
Thursday, Oct 3, 2002
Genetic Analysis of Childhood Brain Tumors Improves Diagnosis And Predicts Survival
Current drug treatments of brainstem tumors are largely unsuccessful, because the drugs often fail to bypass the blood vessel lining protecting the brainstem. Now, an NIH study shows that researchers can effectively deliver drugs to the primate brainstem and monitor how the drugs spread inside the brain. The study provides hope for improving treatment of brainstem tumors and other brain diseases.
Friday, Mar 8, 2002
Gene Linked to Epilepsy With Auditory Features
Doctors who treat brain tumors and other kinds of cancer have long struggled to understand why some patients respond well to therapy while others do not. In recent years, it has become clear that the answer lies at least partially in the genes. Two studies now show that identifying the "genetic fingerprints" of some childhood brain tumors can greatly improve diagnosis and predict patients' long-term survival. The findings help researchers understand how the tumors develop and may lead to improved ways of treating them.
Thursday, Feb 7, 2002
Manipulating A Single Gene Dramatically Improves Regeneration in Adult Neurons: Finding May Lead to New Approaches for Treating Brain and Spinal Cord Damage
A new gene involved in a rare form of epilepsy, in which affected individuals may hear sounds that aren't there, has been identified by researchers supported by the NINDS.
Sunday, Jul 1, 2001
Increasing the expression of a single gene that is important during development dramatically improves the ability of adult neurons to regenerate, a new study shows. The finding suggests that intrinsic properties of neurons play an important role in controlling neuronal regeneration and may lead to new approaches for treating damage from stroke, spinal cord injury, and other neurological conditions.
Safe and Effective Treatment for Acute Repetitive Seizures Available for At-Home Use
Wednesday, Jun 24, 1998
A unique gel formulation of diazepam safely reduces the severity of acute repetitive seizure episodes in both children and adults, according to a study published in the June 25, 1998, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine and funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
Topiramate Available For Treatment Of Epilepsy
Monday, Dec 30, 1996
A new drug for epilepsy, topiramate, with particular effectiveness for partial seizures, developed in part by scientists at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), is now available to the public. The drug received approval by the Food and Drug Administration on December 24.
Common Drug Linked to Lower Incidence of Cerebral Palsy
Wednesday, Feb 8, 1995
A new study shows that very low birthweight babies have a lower incidence of cerebral palsy (CP) when their mothers are treated with magnesium sulfate soon before giving birth. The findings come from a study sponsored by the California Birth Defects Monitoring Program (CBDMP) and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and reported in the February 1995 issue of Pediatrics.
Oral Diazepam Reduces the Risk of Chilhood Febrile Seizure Recurrence
Wednesday, Jul 7, 1993
Oral diazepam (Valium), given at times of fever, safely reduces the risk of febrile seizure recurrence in infants and children, according to a study published in the July 8 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine* and funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Febrile seizures are fever-triggered convulsions that occur in approximately 3-4 percent of all children in the United States. Although they are generally harmless, their occurrence can cause alarm in the family.
Brain Damage Disrupts Emotions and Mood
Tuesday, May 5, 1992
Feeling tense and anxious? Unfettered and carefree? It may be all in your head or — rather — your cerebral hemispheres. According to scientists at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), new research suggests that the brain's hemispheres generate our emotional outlook. Scientists also say their findings, announced today at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in San Diego, show that brain damage can change judgment of emotion and distort normal mood.