New research in Ireland could help predict seizures

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An ERDF-funded study led by researchers in Ireland has found a pattern of molecules that appear in the blood before a seizure happens. This discovery may lead to the development of an early-warning system, which would improve the lives of people with epilepsy.

Researchers at FutureNeuro, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Chronic and Rare Neurological Diseases, hosted at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, led the study, which is published in the current edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

The ERDF-funded research found that the level of molecules in the blood of epilepsy sufferers was higher before a seizure occurred. These molecules are fragments of transfer RNAs (tRNAs), a chemical closely related to DNA that performs an important role in building proteins within the cell.

When cells are stressed, tRNAs are cut into fragments. Higher levels of the fragments in the blood could reflect that brain cells are under stress in the build up to a seizure event.

Using blood samples from people with epilepsy at the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin and in a similar specialist centre in Marburg, Germany, the group found that fragment levels of three tRNAs ‘spike’ in the blood many hours before a seizure.

The research is funded by the ERDF, the Science Foundation Ireland, industry partners and the EU’s Seventh Framework’ Programme FP7 (EpimiRNA project).

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Source article on 10/06/19

Author: Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

Countries: Ireland, Germany