New epilepsy gene

09 August 2012


Writing in the journal Nature Medicine this month, Dr Eva Jimenez-Mateos and her team of neuroscientists at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland have tracked down a new gene involved in epilepsy. Unlike most genes that encode proteins, the new gene makes a microRNA, known as microRNA-134, which is present in much higher levels in the part of the brain that causes epileptic seizures.

The team then used a new type of molecule known as an "antagomir" to remove that particular microRNA from brain cells, and found it prevented seizures for up to a month. The researchers hope their discovery could one day bring hope to people with epilepsy whose condition can't be controlled effectively by medication.


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