New Okla. Medical Research Foundation Sheds Light on Epileptic Seizures

Article excerpt

A study from the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation casts new light on how injuries to brain tissue can cause epileptic seizures to occur and recur.

OMRF scientists Rodger McEver and Lijun Xia are part of a team of scientists who have discovered that inflammation in brain tissue after a seizure, head trauma or stroke might induce more seizures. The new study appears today in the advance online publication of the journal Nature Medicine, and it may open new avenues for preventing epileptic seizures.

"Inflammation is usually a useful part of the body's immune reaction," said McEver, who holds the Eli Lilly Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Research at OMRF. "But in seizures, this research signals that inflammation also may be a factor in a vicious cycle."

Epilepsy is a chronic neurological condition that produces disturbances in the normal electrical functions of the brain. Those disturbances cause recurrent, uncontrolled seizures.

"When a person suffers a seizure or some other traumatic event in the brain, the body's natural reaction is to call for help in the form of white blood cells," said McEver. …