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Research at Iowa State explores new possible treatments for epilepsy

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Research at Iowa State University is investigating the connection between initial seizures and the onset of epilepsy later in life. Thimmasettappa Thippeswamy, a professor of biomedical sciences in the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine, is studying why some who suffer a seizure develop epilepsy and others don't.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in ten Americans will experience a seizure, but only 3 percent of those people will go on to develop epilepsy.

Thippeswamy and his team in Ames, are looking closely at how two experimental drugs work in concert with one another to gain a better understanding of epileptogensis, or the process that leads to the development of epilepsy. He believes that this may hold the key to halting the progression of the disease.


He also said antioxidants, such as those found in natural food products like grapes or greens, may act in a similar way as the experimental drugs, since some antioxidants affect the same targets in the brain.


The research has offered new insight into how seizures affect the behavior of critical brain cells that process and relay information in the parts of the brain that govern learning and memory. 


His research also has implications beyond classical epilepsy. He said it could impact those who suffer from traumatic brain injuries, such as veterans or athletes competing in contact sports.

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