Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers find possible biomarker to identify seizure-related stress

05.10.2010
Findings may lead to a better understanding of the pathology of conversion disorders

New research from Rhode Island Hospital found that reduced levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein in the brain that encourages growth of neurons, may be a trait marker for individuals with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) (seizures that are psychological in origin). The findings are published in the October 4, 2010, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Past studies have shown decreased levels of BDNF in the serum of patients with psychiatric disorders such as major depressive disorder and conversion disorders (a condition in which a patient displays neurological symptoms such as numbness or seizures when no neurological lesion or pathology is found). Children with epilepsy have been found to have increased levels of BDNF compared to healthy controls. Serum BDNF levels, however, have not been investigated in adult patients with epileptic seizures (ES). With this in mind, researchers from Rhode Island Hospital hypothesized that BDNF would differentiate between ES and PNES.

W. Curt LaFrance, Jr., MD, MPH, director of neuropsychiatry and behavioral neurology at Rhode Island Hospital, and assistant professor of psychiatry and neurology (research) at The Alpert Medical School of Brown University led the study of three groups of patients -- one group with confirmed PNES, one group with ES and one healthy control group. The patients were also screened for comorbid depression as well, as past studies have suggested that chronic antidepressant use increases serum BDNF in patients with depression. More than half (8 of 13) of the patients in the PNES group were diagnosed with mild depression and were taking psychotropic (antidepressant) medication.

LaFrance and his fellow colleagues from Brown University found decreased levels of serum BDNF in both the PNES and ES groups when compared to the healthy control group. They believe these findings are significant in that it would be expected that the PNES patients taking antidepressant medications would have an increased level of serum BDNF. There were no significant differences in the levels of serum BDNF among all the patients in the PNES group, whether they were taking antidepressants or not. As a result, they believe that the reduced levels of BDNF may be a biomarker for PNES.

LaFrance says, "While BDNF may play a similar role in the pathophysiology of depression and PNES, the differential response of serum BDNF to antidepressants in patients with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures could highlight an important difference. The fact that antidepressants did not increase serum BDNF levels in our study and that there were no BDNF differences between patients with PNES who were depressed and those who did not have depression would suggest that serum BDNF might represent a trait marker of PNES. This could potentially be useful in understanding the pathophysiology of conversion disorders."

The study also found decreased levels of BDNF in adult patients with epileptic seizures, unlike the elevated levels found in children with ES. LaFrance comments, "This result is unexpected given the findings of elevated serum BDNF levels in children and the studies investigating BDNF concentrations in adult patients with ES."

LaFrance noted, "A model that may provide a unifying hypothesis on the decreased serum BDNF findings in both seizure groups may not be related to seizures -- it may be related to stress. Stress has been shown to lower BDNF, and a shared characteristic of patients with epilepsy or with nonepileptic seizures is fear of the next seizure. There may be great potential for biomarkers for PNES and for treatment response." Based on these findings, LaFrance and his colleagues propose that additional studies of BDNF levels take place to provide further insight into the role of BDNF in seizure disorders.

The study was funded by grants from Brown University and the Matthew Siravo Memorial Foundation. Other researchers involved in the study with LaFrance include, Edward Stopa, MD, and Andrew Blum, MD, PhD, of Rhode Island Hospital and The Alpert Medical School, and Katherine Leaver, BS, and George D. Papandonatos, PhD, of Brown University.

Founded in 1863, Rhode Island Hospital (www.rhodeislandhospital.org) in Providence, RI, is a private, not-for-profit hospital and is the largest teaching hospital of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. A major trauma center for southeastern New England, the hospital is dedicated to being on the cutting edge of medicine and research. The hospital receives nearly $50 million each year in external research funding and is home to Hasbro Children's Hospital, the state's only facility dedicated to pediatric care. It is a founding member of the Lifespan health system.

Nancy Cawley Jean | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.lifespan.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

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

nachricht The dark side of cichlid fish: from cannibal to caregiver
20.04.2018 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

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 >>>