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Researchers find new theory for cause of epilepsy

20 July, 2004

Epilepsy may be caused by obsolete brain cells not dying automatically as they should, according to new research.

Two research teams, one headed by Kazuhiro Yamakawa of the Brain Science Institute in Saitama, Japan and other from the University of California at Los Angeles, published their findings in the journal Nature Genetics.

The
teams studied the genetic make-up of the members of 44 families where
at least one member of the family had juvenile myoclonic epilepsy.
Members of six families were found to have a genetic disorder that apoptosis,
the process by which obsolete brain cells die automatically. This led
to the team's suggestion that epilepsy may occur when these obsolete
cells remain in the brain.

Speaking to The Daily Yomiuri, Dr Yamakawa said:

"Our
findings are still at a hypothetical stage, but we want to conduct
further research to discover the epileptic system and develop methods
of treatment.'