Discovery offers new treatment for epilepsy

Posted By News On November 21, 2012 - 12:30am

New drugs derived from components of a specific diet used by children with severe, drug-resistant epilepsy could offer a new treatment, according to research published today in the journal Neuropharmacology.

Scientists from Royal Holloway, in collaboration with University College London, have identified specific fatty acids that have potent antiepileptic effects, which could help control seizures in children and adults.

The discovery could lead to the replacement of the ketogenic diet, which is often prescribed for children with severe drug-resistant epilepsy. The high fat, low carbohydrate diet is thought to mimic aspects of starvation by forcing the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Although often effective, the diet has attracted criticism, as side effects can be significant and potentially lead to constipation, hypoglycaemia, retarded growth and bone fractures.

By pinpointing fatty acids in the ketogenic diet that are effective in controlling epilepsy, researchers hope that they can develop a pill for children and adults that could provide similar epilepsy control, but lacks the side effects of the diet.

Professor Robin Williams from the Centre of Biomedical Sciences at Royal Holloway said: "This is an important breakthrough. The family of medium chain fatty acids that we have identified provide an exciting new field of research with the potential of identifying, stronger, and safer epilepsy treatments."

The study tested a range of fatty acids found in the ketogenic diet against an established epilepsy treatment. Researchers found that not only did some of the fatty acids outperform the drug in controlling seizures, they also had fewer side effects.

Professor Matthew Walker from the Institute of Neurology, University College London said: "Epilepsy affects over 50 million people worldwide and approximately a third of these people have epilepsy that is not adequately controlled by our present treatments. This discovery offers a whole new approach to the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsies in children and adults."

The research also builds on work funded by the NC3Rs in which most of the animal testing normally used in drug development for epilepsy has been replaced by using a simple amoeba to initially screen and identify improved treatments.

Professor Williams added: "Animals are often used in the search for new epilepsy treatments. Our work provides a new approach, helping us to reduce reliance on animals and provide potential major improvements in human health."

The specific fatty acids identified in this work are the subject of a patent application, and Royal Holloway is seeking commercial collaborators to pursue the potential for new drug development.

I've had 3 TBI's now since I was 17, I am 60 now. The second I had when I was in my mid 30's left me with 4 different types of seizures which have never been fully controled by meds even though the doctors tried over the yrs just about every med out there. I developed alergies to so many! I live with constant migraine strength headachs 24/7 since impact of the car on the second TBI in 1988 but have learned to do bio-feedback to deal with them daily. The best med I have ever taken has been my Topamax which has kept me really ballanced, but not seizure free. NO, I have not driven since the second TBI. I just learned to read and write again just 4 yrs ago too. Praise God! I have been blessed with amazing Seizure Alert Animals in my life as well. I got the first Bill passed for them in 2002 in the state of FL known as "Scanners Law HB 1819". The Dogs cannot be TRAINED to ALERT, only God can do the TRAINING. We as trainers can ONLY train them to do RESPONSE work which means once the seizure has begun what to do with it. They either have the gift or they don't. We cannot TRAIN them to ALERT or PREDICT the FUTURE any more than we can alter their breeds! It is a lie. I was written up in a national best seller while not being able to read WITHOUT my knowledge. The author stated that she "ASSUMED MY DOGS HAD BEEN TRAINED PRIOR TO THEM HAVING COME TO ME" and hundreds of kennels sprung up all over our country and the UK charging up to $35,000.00 for Seizure ALERT DOGS! CLAIMING they HAD TRAINED these DOGS...dogs which could not be trained. Insurance is more than happy to fork this out, the disabled is willing to pay it...I GET MY BEST DOGS FROM THE SHELTERS! MAN'S THROW AWAYS...GOD'S SERVANTS. You can contact me any time. 605-957-0077 Our dogs were MURDERED 2 yrs after the signing of the bill. They died for the FREEDOM of others. I did this for God, Not for man. Man has messed it up.

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