03 Jul 2005
New research suggests novel treatment targets for the most common form of childhood epilepsy - with the potential to have fewer side effects than traditional therapy. The findings from Wake Forest University School of Medicine are reported today in the July issue of the Journal of Neurophysiology.
Through studies in animals, the researchers learned more about the possible brain pathways involved in absence, or petit mal, seizures and tested a drug that revealed a potential new target for blocking seizures before they spread.
"Many current therapies act on the entire nervous system and can have such side effects as sleep disruptions, dizziness and increased risk of developmental side effects," said Georgia Alexander, who with Dwayne Godwin, Ph.D., co-authored the new study. "Because this treatment blocks the pathway that may cause the spread of seizures, it could be more effective and have fewer side effects."
Absence seizures, which are most common in children between 6 and 12, get their name because during the seizure the child seems to be temporarily unconscious of his or her surroundings. Although they last only a few seconds, the seizures can occur hundreds of times a day and can dramatically impact learning and development.-----------------------