Study Finds Concussions Linked to Epilepsy

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January 24, 2019
Edward Smith

Study Finds Concussions Linked to Epilepsy

Research scientists at Fralin Biomedical Research Institute (FBRI)  recently released a report on the link between concussions and epilepsy. The study was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders, The Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Sciences at Virginia Tech, the National Institutes of Health, and the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute. It was published on Tuesday, January 22, 2019. FBRI say that they have noted a cellular response to mild brain injuries in mice. FBRI’s report indicates that this shows how mild brain injuries may lead to the development of epilepsy. It has been known that traumatic brain injuries are a leading cause of acquired epilepsy. However, this study may give us insight into exactly how epilepsy develops after head trauma.

Unusual Response

Epilepsy is characterized as a repetitive occurrence of seizures. Currently, there is no treatment to interrupt the process that the brain undergoes after an injury that can leave people with this chronic medical condition. The study suggests that developing epilepsy may be caused by an atypical response from a type of brain cell called an astrocyte. These cells usually change to form scar tissue after an injury. This scarring process is important because it protects uninjured areas of the brain. However, these scars are also associated with acquired epilepsy.

The study found that these cells don’t form scars after mild brain injuries. However, some astrocytes change in a different way almost directly after these mild injuries take place. A few weeks after these cells changed, scientists noticed repeated seizures in their test mice.

One of the study’s authors, Stefanie Robel, stated that their findings “point to a unique population” of cells that “respond within 30 minutes of an injury.” Robel said these cells may be the root of a problem that causes seizures after a certain time period. Robel added that this may be a therapeutic window where doctors may be able to prevent seizure disorders after concussions.

Unexpected Findings

Researchers said that they did not realize the atypical changes right away. When they found the unusual astrocytes, scientists thought the cells were dead. They thought this because the cells were not making their normal proteins. Later, one researcher found that the cells were alive. They were acting differently because they were responding to a mild injury.

Coping with Brain Injuries

The effects of a concussion are often hard to deal with. People who have suffered these injuries face many different symptoms. These symptoms sometimes include epilepsy and can also involve mood swings, language problems, confusion, sleep issues, and more. Medications, in-home care, and changes around the house can all be necessary after an injury. These things are often expensive. Those who’ve been injured may not know how they can afford to pay for them. For this reason, those dealing with brain injuries should speak with an injury lawyer to learn about how they can claim money to cover these costs.

More blogs by Ed Smith, Granite Bay Brain Injury Lawyer

Granite Bay Brain Injury Lawyer

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Study Finds Concussions Linked to Epilepsy: Ed Smith

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