Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

In the test tube instead of under the knife

04.08.2017

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.


A new MRI scanning method enables precise tracking of the route of nerve fibers.

Photo: Niels Schwaderlapp/Department of Radiology, Medical Physics

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.

Original publication:
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
www.brainlinks-braintools.uni-freiburg.de

Contact:
Dr. Pierre LeVan
Department for Radiology, Medical Physics -
University Medical Center Freiburg
Tel.: 0761/270-93730
E-Mail: pierre.levan@uniklinik-freiburg.de

A new MRI scanning method enables precise tracking of the route of nerve fibers.
Photo: Niels Schwaderlapp/Department of Radiology,Medical Physics.

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.pr.uni-freiburg.de/pm-en/2017/in-the-test-tube-instead-of-under-the-...

Rudolf-Werner Dreier | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

Further reports about: Biomarkers MRI MRI scanning bicycle brain tissue neurosurgery test tube

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Rochester scientists discover gene controlling genetic recombination rates
23.04.2018 | University of Rochester

nachricht One step closer to reality
20.04.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Start of work for the world's largest electric truck

20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research

Atoms may hum a tune from grand cosmic symphony

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>