A new gene for idiopathic epilepsy has been discovered in a breed of dog known as a Belgian Shepherd, according to research published in the scientific journal PLoS ONESpecifically, the gene was discovered in the breed’s canine chromosome 37. This is according to research findings conducted by Professor Hannes Lohi and his team at the University of Helsinki and the Folkhälsan Research Center. These findings are expected to help open up new avenues in understanding how genetics plays a role in some of the most common forms of epilepsy. This is significant because it may be able to help researchers understand the most common types of epilepsy in human beings, too.

Researchers have long believed that genetics plays a significant role in who develops epilepsy, and is believed to be responsible for as many as 40 percent of epileptic patients. While many different genes are responsible for the development of symptomatic epilepsies, scientists have yet to discover the genetic background of multifactorial idiopathic epilepsies. The research on the Belgian Shepherds makes sense since both focal and generalized idiopathic epilepsy develops in the dogs. This is likely why Lohi, in conjunction with Danish, Swedish and American researchers, has discovered this groundbreaking chromosome 37 in the dogs. In making the comparison between the genome of the dogs that have epilepsy against healthy dogs, the researchers located the gene area with chromosome 37. If the chromosome 37 proves to be homozygous, it will prove to increase the epilepsy risks seven-fold.

“There are only few genes in the identified region and I believe that the ongoing analyses will help us to discover the specific epilepsy gene,” says Lohi, who led the research. “This would give us a better understanding of the disease mechanisms and provide us with new diagnostic tools for the disease.”

Most forms of epilepsy are treated with prescription medications like Topamax, which is used to help prevent seizures. Topamax is an epilepsy drug that is also used to treat migraines. Like all medications, Topamax comes with its own list of serious side effects, which include birth defects in babies exposed to Topamax in-utero. Some of those birth defects linked to Topamax include PPHN, oral clefts, neural tube defects and heat, lung and brain defects.

If your baby was born with any of these birth defects after being exposed to Topamax during gestation, contact 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 baby’s injuries.