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of everyone affected by epilepsy

Sugar compound suppresses seizures

24 October, 2006

Researchers at
the University of Wisconsin-Madison have discovered a new use for a
sweet-tasting, widely-used sugar compound as a treatment for epilepsy.

2-deoxy-glucose
(known as 2DG) has previously been used in cancer imaging, radio
labelling and medical scanning. But the team of researchers found that
the chemical blocked the onset of seizures in test subjects.

The findings were reported in the journal Nature Neuroscience.
According to senior author, Avtar Roopra, Assistan Professor of
Neurology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, they could have
implications for up to half of all epilepsy patients. He said, "I see
2DG as an epilepsy management treatment much like insulin is used to
treat diabetes."

Co-author
and Professor of Neurology, Tom Sutula, said, "All the available
epilepsy treatments have focused on suppressing seizures. There has
been hope that [new drugs] will not only suppress seizures, but modify
their consequences. [This] appears to be a novel treatment that offers
great promise to achieve that vision."

Similar
to a ketogenic or 'sugar-free' diet, 2DG appears to interact with a
neuronal gene thought to control up to 1,800 genes in the brain
including many that are implicated in epilepsy.

The
researchers have patented the compound for use in the treatment of
epilepsy in collaboration with the University's technology transfer
arm.