Thursday July 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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New Study Shows That Elderly With Symptoms of Depression Are More Prone to Memory Problems

"Since symptoms of depression can be treated, it may be possible that treatment may also reduce thinking and memory problems," said study author Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida, US.

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The researchers found that greater symptoms of depression were linked to worse episodic memory -- a person's ability to remember specific experiences and events.
representational image. pixabay

Depression may speed up brain ageing and lead to memory problems in older adults, suggests new research that offers hope of finding a new way to treat memory issues.

“Since symptoms of depression can be treated, it may be possible that treatment may also reduce thinking and memory problems,” said study author Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida, US.

The study, published in the journal Neurology, also showed that older people with greater symptoms of depression may have structural differences in the brain compared to people without symptoms.

“With as many as 25 per cent of older adults experiencing symptoms of depression, it’s important to better understand the relationship between depression and memory problems,” Zeki Al Hazzouri said.

The study involved over 1,000 people with an average age of 71.

The researchers found that greater symptoms of depression were linked to worse episodic memory -- a person's ability to remember specific experiences and events.
representational image, pixabay

At the beginning of the study, all the participants had brain scans, a psychological exam and assessments for memory and thinking skills. Their memory and thinking skills were tested again an average of five years later.

At the start of the study, 22 per cent of the participants had greater symptoms of depression.

The researchers found that greater symptoms of depression were linked to worse episodic memory — a person’s ability to remember specific experiences and events.

Those with greater symptoms of depression had differences in the brain including smaller brain volume as well as a 55 per cent greater chance of small vascular lesions in the brain, the findings showed.

Also Read: Trauma in Childhood is Linked to Negative Outcomes in Adulthood 

“Small vascular lesions in the brain are markers of small vessel disease, a condition in which the walls in the small blood vessels are damaged,” said Zeki Al Hazzouri.

“Our research suggests that depression and brain ageing may occur simultaneously, and greater symptoms of depression may affect brain health through small vessel disease,” Zeki Al Hazzouri added. (IANS)