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  • Writer's pictureFlow Australia

Epilepsy breakthrough sparks hope for more treatments

There's hope of developing more treatments for epilepsy after scientists uncovered DNA clues about why some people develop the brain condition.



New clues have been uncovered about why some people develop epilepsy, sparking hopes more treatments could be developed.


Scientists have confirmed 26 components of DNA are involved in the development of the brain condition and 29 genes probably contribute to it.


They compared the DNA of almost 30,000 epilepsy patients with more than 50,000 people who do not have it, in what was the largest study of its kind.


The findings were published in Nature Genetics and also shed light on why different forms of epilepsy exist.


It's hoped the insights will be used to develop more treatments for the condition, which affects about 50 million people worldwide.


One possible area for future research is looking at existing medications that are used for other conditions but also target known epilepsy genes.


More than 300 scientists from the International League Against Epilepsy worked on the research, including the study's co-lead Laureate Professor Samuel Berkovic from the University of Melbourne.


"Gaining a better understanding of the genetic underpinnings of epilepsy is key to developing new therapeutic options," he said.


The findings will form the basis of further scientific work, according to according to Professor Melanie Bahlo from Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.


"We have bookmarked parts of our genome that should be the major focus of future epilepsy research," Prof Bahlo said.


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