Drug reverses damage caused by seizures: US study

January 2nd, 2012 - 8:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Jan 2 (IANS) Researchers at Boston’s Children’s Hospital have detailed how early-life seizures disrupt normal brain development. They have also showed in a rat model that it might be possible to reverse this pathology by giving certain drugs soon after the seizure.

A team led by Frances Jensen, neurologist at the Children’s Hospital, studied seizures in a rat model to see how they affected brain development at the cellular and molecular level, and whether these effects could be countered.

“Our results show that seizures ‘fix’ the synapses so they have much less potential to respond to experience,” said Jensen. Synapses are the junctions between neurons (brain cells) through which the brain is wired.

These effects appear to be reversible, however. When the rats were given a drug that blocks AMPA receptors, known as NBQX, immediately to 48 hours after seizures, these problems were reversed.

Since drugs similar to NBQX are already FDA-approved for other indications, Jensen believes these results might eventually lead to a clinical trial in newborns who have had seizures.

Some 80-120 newborns per 100,000 births each year in the US suffer seizures, often caused by brain damage from a shortage of oxygen around the time of birth.

Symptoms in newborns include eyes rolling upward or fluttering, stiffening of the body, movements of the tongue, lip smacking or excessive sucking, uncontrolled jerking movements or body twitching, or periods of unresponsiveness.

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