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New insight into epilepsy may lead to new therapies

 

Narrator:       This is Science Today. Neuroscientists at University of California, Riverside, are using computer models to study epileptic seizures at a molecular level. Cell biologist Maxim Bazhenov explains that seizures occur when there is a buildup of sodium in neurons and current antiepileptic drugs work to slow down this buildup. But they have found that this may in fact prolong seizures. 

Bazhenov:     I'm not saying it's completely wrong, it does some good for certain components of the seizure; however, it does slow down buildup of sodium inside the cell and as a result, it might extend duration of the seizure.

Narrator:       This is because seizures stop once there is an accumulation of sodium. Instead, Bazhenov is looking to target chloride, which affects the duration of the seizure.

Bazhenov:     Rather than design which could affect sodium channels, what kind of drugs or other manipulations could affect channels which are involved in chloride entering in the cell and if it could slow it down, we could make possibly epileptic seizures much shorter or even not possible at all.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.