Huge studies into the genetic causes of epilepsy have started to produce results. The US-led studies, called EPGP and Epi4K, involve 150 scientists working in 40 institutions over three continents. The studies have discovered 25 new mutations on nine key genes that are behind some severe childhood epilepsies. Among those were two genes never before linked to this kind of epilepsy. Scientists hope that the studies will lead to a way to test newborn babies for the risk of developing epilepsy – and help develop precise drug treatments.
Stories about genes
Scientists working at University College London have cured epilepsy in rats by adding a special ‘calm down’ gene. The gene stops groups of neurons (brain cells) becoming too excited – and prevents seizures.
According to a report on BBC News, the researchers have developed two ways of manipulating the behavior of individual cells inside the brain in order to prevent seizures.