The development of antiepileptic drugs has largely centered on targeting known neural processes. With one-third of epileptic patients being resistant to existing medications, a figure that hasn’t altered in 30 years, it’s clear a new approach needs to be taken.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by abnormal neuronal activity resulting in seizures, and can strike anyone at any time. Males and females regardless of race, ethnic background, and age can be affected by epilepsy.
In a recently published study, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine outlined how they uncovered a new mechanism by which the brain repairs itself in response to severe seizures. The new discovery may help direct new development of pharmaceutical therapies by providing an alternative mechanism for drugs to target.
The team of researchers found that the microglia in the brain performed something never seen before. Not only did the immune cells remove brain debris after a seizure, the microglia actually stuck around to heal the neurons. The microglia didn’t consume the damaged cells, but healed them rather.