Researchers Locate New Site for Meds to Target in Epileptics

According to information found by researchers that was published online in the journal Neurology of Disease, a new type of medication may be able to help epileptic patients with persistent seizures experience fewer or even no future episodes. This medication will work by going against the brain’s NMDA receptors, which is the main area of the brain that controls synaptic activity and memory function.

“Despite the development of new medications to prevent seizures, status epilepticus remains a life-threatening condition that can cause extensive brain damage in the patients that survive these persistent seizures,” said David E. Naylor, MD, PhD, a lead researcher at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed) and corresponding author of the new study. “Our research holds promise for the development of new therapies to treat this devastating condition because we have found a potential new target for medical intervention that should bolster the current standard therapies to treat the acute seizures. It may also prevent the long-term adverse effects of persistent seizure activity on the brain.”

During the study that resulted in this new idea for medication, researchers discovered that while seizures are occurring, the activity forces the NMDA receptors to move from inside the brain to the nerve cells. This causes a 38 percent increase in nerve cells, which is what works as such a great antagonist for the NMDA.

“The increased presence of the NMDA receptors on the cell surface during these seizures may explain the successful use of NMDA antagonists — medication that inhibits the activity of the NMDA receptors in the brain — in the latter stages of a seizure, long after other medications have stopped working,” said Dr. Naylor. “We concluded that medications that suppress the activity of the NMDA receptors, in conjunction with other medications, may be successful in stopping persistent seizures.”

Should this research help scientists in creating a new type of epileptic medication, older brands of medication that have proven dangerous may be a thing of the past. One of those dangerous medications is Topamax. Topamax has been linked to babies being born with birth defects — including PPHN, oral clefts, spina bifida and neural tube defects — when the mothers take the pills while pregnant.

If your baby has suffered from birth defects after being exposed to Topamax in-utero, 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 injury.

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