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Epilepsy controlled from a distance

Nature volume 515, page 469 (27 November 2014) | Download Citation


Disrupting electrical activity in a brain region not directly affected by epilepsy could be a way to control treatment-resistant forms of the disorder.

Esther Krook-Magnuson and her colleagues at the University of California, Irvine, mimicked epilepsy in mice by injecting a chemical into the hippocampus, where seizures arise in a common form of the human disease that is hard to treat. The mice had been genetically modified so that electrical activity in their brains could be controlled with light.

When the team excited or inhibited neurons in the mouse cerebellum, spontaneous seizures recorded in the hippocampus became shorter. When they excited neurons in the midline cerebellum, the seizures also became less frequent. Altering the activity of neurons in the hippocampus, however, had no effect on seizure frequency.

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