Halting chronic drinking brings on epileptic seizures

October 19th, 2009 - 12:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Oct 19 (IANS) Epileptic seizures are the most dramatic aspect of the “alcohol withdrawal syndrome” that occurs when a person abruptly halts a chronic drinking habit.
Researchers have shown that the flow of calcium ions into brain cells plays an important role in alcohol withdrawal seizures because blocking this flow suppresses these seizures.

But do the changes in calcium currents contribute to alcohol withdrawal seizures or are they a consequence of the seizures?

“These preliminary findings are the first to indicate that altered calcium channel activity contributes to the occurrence of alcohol withdrawal seizures,” said lead study author Prosper N’Gouemo, assistant professor in paediatrics at Georgetown University Medical Centre (GUMC).

The study presented at 39th annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience also shows that calcium currents remain high during the period of seizure susceptibility, said a GUMC release.

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