Research at Cain
Many pediatric cases of incurable epilepsy are attributed to a congenital defect, known as cortical dysplasia (CD) in which the neurons fail to migrate to appropriate locations in the brain during development. This results in abnormal brain architecture and neuronal miswiring that manifests as severe seizures. Currently, no treatments exist to prevent this condition and the only option is to reduce seizures using anticonvulsants or neurosurgery.
Dr. John Swann, co-director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (NRI) at Texas Children’s and Baylor College of Medicine, co-authored an article in Science Translational Medicine that highlights key research findings presented earlier this year at the NRI conference on catastrophic childhood epilepsy.
Loss of 2 genes that repress mechanistic Target of Rapamycin (mTOR), a growth-promoting pathway, causes autism and epilepsy. Excessive excitation of neurons was assumed to be the culprit. However, a study published in the February 2014 issue of The Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience adds a new twist.