22 March 2009

Link between epilepsy and Alzheimer’s uncovered

Scientists have discovered what could be causing people with Alzheimer’s disease to go on to develop epilepsy
University of Aberdeen: 19 March 2009
An international team involving scientists at the University of Aberdeen has revealed that a protein in the brain – which accumulates in clumps in an Alzheimer's brain – is making nerve cells too sensitive.

Overly sensitive nerve cells lose their ability to communicate coherently with other nerve cells. This then makes the brain susceptible to seizures, say researchers who today report their findings in the Journal of Neuroscience.

It is already known that patients with Alzheimer's disease can experience epileptic seizures, but until now, a link between epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease, and the actual cause for a connection, has not been understood.

Around one third of Alzheimer's patients are thought to suffer some degree of epilepsy and some with certain forms of the disease are 80 times more likely to suffer seizures than people without the condition.

Now scientists have discovered how beta-amyloid protein - a key component of the plaques that clog an Alzheimer's brain - is impacting on nerve cells in the brain. … > full press release : comment from Alzheimer’s Society (UK) : BBC news story

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