According to research recently published in Journal of Neuroscience from the University of Kentucky, there may be some new ways of treating and managing seizures related to epilepsy.
Epilepsy is one type of neurological disorder, which is extremely common. In fact, in the United States alone, there are approximately three million who are suffering, with an additional 200,000 diagnosed each year. Epilepsy drugs do help some, but there are still around 33% of people who are not going to respond to the anti-seizure medications available.
When a person does not respond to the first anti-seizure medication that they are prescribed, they are typically going to be prescribed different medicines to see if the doctor can find an option that will work for them. When they are not responding to the traditional medications, they may need to consider some of the other options that are available.
In some cases, this might mean trying some of the newer medications that are on the market that have not been on the market for as long. It might also mean working with an epilepsy center to look for alternative methods that could help with their seizures. In some cases, dietary therapies are used to help, and other times they may need to find out if surgery is an option for them or not.
Some of the other options that can be considered include vagus nerve therapy, brain stimulation, and behavioral therapies. With the research that was recently published, it looks as though there may be a new option that some doctors might want to consider for their patients.
What is Dysfunctional Blood Barrier?
It was a commonly held belief that epilepsy was typically caused by problems within the neurons of the brain. Recently, researchers have found that a range of other factors could also be causing epilepsy, including something known as “dysfunctional blood barrier.”
What this means is that seizures work to wear down the capillaries that line the brain. These capillaries are essential for keeping toxins out of the brain and for allowing nutrients to go into the brain. With their erosion, it means that a person is often going to be more prone to seizures, which can cause epilepsy to progress in the patient.
This barrier leakage was the focus of research conducted by Sanders-Browne Center on Aging and the UK College of Pharmacy. They found that the release of glutamate during seizures could cause two types of enzymes in the brain to change and increase, which could contribute to the leaking. The research also discovered that when an enzyme called cPLA2 was blocked or removed on the genetic level, it could prevent the aforementioned changes that cause the leakage.
They believe that there could be help for some of those patients who do not respond to the anti-seizure medications, namely by removing that particular enzyme. They feel that it might be possible to repair the barrier issues that many patients are facing, and that this could help those who are not being aided by the traditional epilepsy medications. The researchers believe that it could be possible to use these strategies to provide additional treatment to those who are on traditional medications, as well.
More Research is Needed
While the research that has already been conducted has been promising, it is still quite early to determine just how successful it may be for the epilepsy community at large. As with so many other types of therapies and treatments that are available today, it is going to take more research to determine just how effective it may be.