Thursday April 19, 2018

Structural differences in brain are linked to epilepsy

Adults with epilepsy exhibited lower volume in the right thalamus, a region which relays sensory and motor signals.

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Structure of brain can help find the causes behind epilepsy.
Structure of brain can help find the causes behind epilepsy.
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  • Latest research reveals that thickness and volume of brain can have an effect on our health
  • The differences can cause epilepsy
  • Apparently, there is more to epilepsy than realised

Thickness and volume differences in the grey matter of several brain regions could predict an increased risk of developing epilepsy — a neurological disorder characterised by seizures, finds a research led by a professor of Indian-origin.

Also Read : Stimulating Brain with Electricity may synchronise Brain waves and help improve short-term memory

Epilepsy affects 0.6-1.5 per cent of the global population, comprising many different syndromes and conditions, and defined by a tendency for seizures.

The findings showed reduced grey matter thickness in parts of the brain’s outer layer (cortex) and reduced volume in subcortical brain regions in all epilepsy groups when compared to the control group.

Connection between the grey matter and seizures. www.deccanchronicle.com
Connection between the grey matter and seizures. www.deccanchronicle.com

Reduced volume and thickness were associated with longer duration of epilepsy.

Adults with epilepsy exhibited lower volume in the right thalamus — a region which relays sensory and motor signals –and reduced thickness in the motor cortex, which controls the body’s movement.

These patterns were even present among people with idiopathic generalised epilepsies — a type of the disorder that are typically considered to be more benign if seizures are under control.

“We found differences in brain matter even in common epilepsies that are often considered to be comparatively benign,” said lead author, Sanjay Sisodiya, Professor at the University College London.

Also Read : Stress may trigger a form of Reflex Epilepsy and increase the risk of its Development  

“We have identified a common neuroanatomical signature of epilepsy, across multiple epilepsy types. We found that structural changes are present in multiple brain regions, which informs our understanding of epilepsy as a network disorder,” added Christopher Whelan from the University of Southern California.

There is more to seizure than we actually realise.
There is more to seizure than we actually realise.

For the study, published in the journal Brain, the team conducted MRI brain scans of 2,149 people with epilepsy, and compared with 1,727 healthy controls from across Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australia.

“Our findings suggest there’s more to epilepsy than we realise, and now we need to do more research to understand the causes of these differences,” Sisodiya said. IANS

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Brain’s memory area might be associated with anxiety and depression

Addiction, for example, could be linked to deficits of approach motivation. Anxiety and depression on the other hand could be linked to avoidance behaviours

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Sleep spindles can help in memory retention. Pixabay
Brain's memory can be affected by Depression and Anxiety. Pixabay

An area of the brain, commonly linked with memory and dementia, could also yield important clues about a range of mental health illnesses including addiction, anxiety and depression, a study has found.

The area, known as hippocampus, is a seahorse-shaped structure located deep inside the brain. As part of the limbic system, it plays an important role in memory processing and spatial cognition, including how mammals learn to understand and navigate their environment. Hippocampus have been long known for its role in memory and dementia, especially in relation to Alzheimer’s disease. In Alzheimer’s patients for instance, this region is one of the first areas of the brain to suffer damage.

Victimization in early school days leads to anxiety. Pixabay
Anxiety can cause avoidance behaviour. Pixabay

The study, published in the journal Current Biology, revealed that because hippocampus plays a role in basic motivational behaviour, it may also offer important insights into a range of mental health illnesses. Addiction, for example, could be linked to deficits of approach motivation. Anxiety and depression on the other hand could be linked to avoidance behaviours, all of which could manifest itself in this part of the brain, Ito said.

Also Read: Women with larger waistline are at higher risk of anxiety

“Some patients have lesions to certain areas of this part of the brain, so hopefully we can assess them to see what particular aspects of approach avoidance behaviour may or may not be impacted,” the researchers said. IANS