Rethinking Seizure Care Blog

Brain Proteins and Patterns Help Researchers Understand Epilepsy and Anxiety Better

Posted by RSC Diagnostics on Jan 8, 2021

Close up of businessman holding digital image of brain in palm

Those who are suffering from epilepsy or anxiety and who have no way of dealing with their condition, could be able to benefit from new therapies that are being developed. Researchers from UNLV, Tufts University, as well as an international team have delved into this field and have learned more about the proteins in the brain and which ones are important when it comes to controlling epilepsy, as well as anxiety and other types of disorders.

What the Study Found

The researchers published the study in Nature Communications, and it detailed new information and thoughts on the way that it might be possible to regulate what they call specialized compartments cells that are in the brain and that controlled their signaling. They reason that if medical professionals are capable of exerting a measure of influence over the compartment, it would be possible to have more control over the way the brain cells fired. They believe that doing that has the potential to control and prevent seizures, and to help with other conditions, including the aforementioned anxiety.

The lead on the study, Rochelle Hines, who is a neuroscientist from UNLV, said, “If we can better understand how the brain patterns activity, we can understand how it might go wrong in a disorder like epilepsy, where brain activity becomes uncontrolled. And if we can understand what is important for this control, we can come up with better strategies for treating and improving the quality of life for people with epileptic seizures and maybe other types of disorders as well, such as anxiety or sleep disorders.”

The research project has been going on for six years, and it has helped the researchers to learn quite a bit more about brainwave control. They achieved this by getting a better understanding of how two specific proteins were interacting with one another – collybistin and GABAA receptor a2 subunit. Through rodent models, they found that when the interaction between them was disrupted, it would cause the brain waves to become out of control. These out of control and disrupted brainwaves looked very similar to the brain wave patterns that occur in humans who have anxiety or who are suffering from epilepsy.

Because the study has allowed them to pinpoint this reaction, they believe that it can allow researchers and neuroscientists to better regulate the area. Ultimately, they believe that the information found in the research has the potential to help patients who are dealing with epilepsy, as well as those who are struggling with anxiety through the development of better drugs and treatments.

What Does the Future Hold?

This is very exciting to neuroscientists, as well as for patients who are currently dealing with these issues and who may not have had much success with other forms of treatment currently in use. There seems to be a lot of potential with the research, and hopefully, scientists will be able to move forward and eventually find better drugs and treatments that utilize this information. Being able to have better control over seizures, as well as anxiety, could be a massive improvement to the quality of life for a large number of people around the world.

Of course, it is also important to remember that it is still relatively early in the findings of this research, and there will likely need to be even more research conducted. Still, there is a lot of promise, which can provide those who are suffering with hope.



Topics: Epilepsy Research