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Electrodes on the scalp can reveal electrical activity in the brain associated with seizures.
December 10, 2014 The winners of an online competition identified electrical patterns in the brain that often precede a seizure. The victors included a mathematician and an engineer, but no doctor.
The dream of epilepsy research, says neurobiologist Ivan Soltesz, is to stop seizures by manipulating only some brain cells, not all.
Steve Zylius/UC Irvine Communications
April 18, 2014 Ivan Soltesz studies epilepsy in mice, but says children with chronic seizures are his inspiration. He's closing in on a way to quell the seizures with light — and without drugs' side effects.
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A technique called optogenetics is being used in the laboratory to observe and control what brain circuits are doing in real time.
Henning Dalhoff/Getty Images/Science Photo Library RM
December 26, 2013 An experimental technique called optogenetics is starting to change the way researchers look at the brain. The tool allows them to switch entire brain circuits on and off using light, and may help figure out what's going wrong in brain ailments from epilepsy to depression.
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Surgeons use a grid of electrodes laid on a patient's brain. They record electrical activity and can deliver a tiny jolt.
Courtesy of Dr. Josef Parvizi
December 9, 2013 When doctors stick electrodes into the brain of a patient with epilepsy, they're hoping to find a cure for debilitating seizures. But they're also exploring a still-mysterious landscape. And they couldn't do it without a patient willing to help.
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November 16, 2013 The Food and Drug Administration approved a pacemaker-like device for patients whose epilepsy can't be controlled with drugs. The device senses when seizures are coming and stops them by sending electronic signals through wires inserted deep in the brain.
Gabapentin, sold under the brand name Neurontin, helps some people cut down on drinking.
November 7, 2013 Gabapentin, a generic drug, appears to reduce alcohol cravings and ease sleeplessness and anxiety associated with withdrawal. But the drug hasn't been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat alcohol dependence, and there's no sign it will be anytime soon.
In epilepsy, the normal behavior of brain neurons is disturbed. The drug valproic acid appears to help the brain replenish a key chemical, preventing seizures.
David Mack/Science Source
November 6, 2013 Valproic acid has been a mainstay of epilepsy treatment for decades. But how the drug works has been a mystery. Researchers have now figured out the drug boosts a particular chemical in the brain. The finding may help scientists develop better treatments someday.
Barton Holmes, 2, sits with his father, Kevin Holmes, and his mother, Catherine McEaddy Holmes, during an appointment at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
June 10, 2013 For children with epilepsy, doctors now try to prevent seizures altogether. It's a big switch in thinking from the days when seizures weren't considered such a bad thing. That changed due to research showing that seizures can affect learning and memory.
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With a little help and guidance, epileptic teens can have most of the same experiences as their peers, including learning to drive.
November 29, 2011 Though epilepsy is a serious condition, it can be managed. Parents of teens with epilepsy share tips for helping their children lead full, independent lives.
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