Freiburg neuroscientists develop new forms of diagnosis and therapy for temporal lobe epilepsy
What if you fell off your bicycle today and ten years later you developed epilepsy? Relationships like this might appear far-fetched but are entirely possible, say Freiburg researchers. Using the latest MRI scanning procedures, Prof. Dr. Carola Haas, Department of Neurosurgery, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Hennig, Department of Radiology, and Prof. Dr. Ulrich Egert, Department of Microsystems Engineering (MST) of the University of Freiburg, in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Jan Korvink of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, have shown how certain disorders of the hippocampus can initiate a drug resistant epilepsy.
The team has discovered biomarkers that – if used for screening – could massively improve treatment options for epilepsy. The researchers have published their results in the online journal "eLife". The study is part of a number of projects involving the Freiburg Cluster of Excellence BrainLinks-BrainTools and the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF).
Temporal lobe epilepsy affects millions of people worldwide. In many cases drugs offer insufficient improvement to patients' quality of life. In these cases, an operation to remove the affected brain tissue often appears to be the only solution. Most cases of epilepsy are caused by injury to the brain tissue, whether from febrile convulsions, a brain tumor, stroke or a bicycle accident.
This can give rise to a series of seizures. Known as status epilepticus, this changes the tissue so that there is a tendency to suffer epileptic attacks. However it may be years before these recurrent attacks occur. And once this point is reached, drugs are often no longer any use to the patient. This could change if the process of development were recognized and stopped at an early stage, before the symptoms become permanent. This is what the research by Haas, Egert and Hennig investigated.
Using MRI scanning, the team examined the brain tissue of mice and humans. In the hippocampus, a structure on the inside edge of the temporal lobe, the researchers found valuable interrelationships: damage to the hippocampus does not automatically result in subsequent epilepsy, however, once there is a tendency to suffer attacks, such damage always appears to have been the root cause.
In addition, the team also found that they could determine the severity of subsequent epilepsy, by measuring the movement of water molecules in the brain tissue. Frequently it is glial cells that have been restructured in some way that increase the risk of attacks.
So the pathological changes in the hippocampus could specifically serve as biomarkers for clinical diagnosis, in order to predict the disease progression. This not only enlarges the "therapeutic window"; doctors would also in future be able to undertake promising, personalized treatments, before having to operate on the patient.
To begin with however, a clinical study will be necessary to obtain evidence of the real prognostic value of these biomarkers – it is hoped that this can take place at the widely renowned Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery at the Freiburg University Medical Center.
Janz, P., Schwaderlapp, N., Heining, K., Häussler, U., Korvink, J.G., von Elverfeldt, D., Hennig, J., Egert, U., LeVan, P., Haas, C.A.. Early tissue damage and microstructural reorganization predict disease severity of experimental epilepsy, eLife 2017; 6:e25742, DOI: 10.7554/eLife.25742
BrainLinks-BrainTools Cluster of Excellence
Dr. Pierre LeVan
Department for Radiology, Medical Physics -
University Medical Center Freiburg
A new MRI scanning method enables precise tracking of the route of nerve fibers.
Photo: Niels Schwaderlapp/Department of Radiology,Medical Physics.
Rudolf-Werner Dreier | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?
17.11.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care
Microbial resident enables beetles to feed on a leafy diet
17.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses