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New Pathway To Epilepsy Discovered


10/19/2005 5:11:41 PM

Working with rats, scientists have uncovered a previously unknown change in brain cells that appears to be responsible for the seizures associated with the most common type of adult epilepsy. In rats with a condition resembling the condition, known as temporal lobe epilepsy, the ends of these neurons, called dendrites, were more sensitive than normal brain cells. Epilepsy causes neurons to die, and the resulting fewer-than-normal number of dendrites allows too much potassium to pass through the cell. This, in turn, caused increased sensitivity and seizures. Targeting this potassium channel may open the way to new treatments for epilepsy, researchers report in the July 23 issue of Science.

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