Anticonvulsant drugs are the most common treatment for temporal lobe epilepsy. Unfortunately, they are proving to be ineffective. However, according to a new study that was published June 20 in the Cell Press journal Neuron, a simple two-week treatment may help scientists create a drug for humans fighting seizures.
The study had scientists targeting a particular signaling pathway in mice that may prevent temporal lobe epilepsy in humans. Patients with temporal lobe epilepsy often experience an initial prolonged seizure cluster called status epilepticus before they suffer from recurrent seizures. Animal research has found that these prolonged seizures in status epilepticus cause or contribute to the onset of epilepsy.
“An important goal of this field has been to identify the molecular mechanism by which status epilepticus transforms a brain from normal to epileptic,” says Dr. James McNamara of the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.. “Understanding that mechanism in molecular terms would provide a target with which one could intervene pharmacologically, perhaps to prevent an individual from becoming epileptic.”
Researchers took mice with temporal lobe epilepsy after the onset of status epilepticus and then inhibited the BDNF receptor, TrkB, by modifying their genes. This helped make the mouse susceptible to a chemical disruption of TrkB at certain times, which stopped epilepsy from developing. The study also showed that blocking TrkB for two weeks after the first seizure actually stopped the onset of epilepsy in the long term.
“This demonstrated that it is possible to intervene following status epilepticus and prevent the animal from becoming epileptic,” says McNamara.
If this treatment works in humans, it could prove groundbreaking because it will prevent patients from having to take harmful anti-seizure medications like Topamax. Topamax has been linked to an increased risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts as well as birth defects in women whose babies are exposed to the drug in-utero. Some of those birth defects linked to Topamax use during pregnancy include cleft lips, cleft palates, genital defects and other birth malformations.
If your baby was born with birth defects after in-utero exposure to Topamax, contact attorney Greg Jones today for a free consultation. I am experienced at fighting Topamax lawsuits and may be able to help you recover money for your child’s injuries.