Seizure-Like Brain Activity May Contribute to Alzheimer’s Development, Study Reports

Seizure-Like Brain Activity May Contribute to Alzheimer’s Development, Study Reports
Epileptic-seizure-like activity in a brain region called the hippocampus may contribute to the development of Alzheimer's, according to a case study involving two patients. And an anti-epileptic medicine may be able to slow the disease's progression, Massachusetts General Hospital researchers said. An additional finding was that seizure-like activity may be difficult to detect in Alzheimer's. The team spotted it when two patients were sleeping after previous attempts with another detection device failed. The findings could have important implications in the development of Alzheimer's. The hippocampus is the region responsible for processing long-term memory and emotional responses. In addition, most of the memory consolidation process occurs during sleep. The study, “Silent hippocampal seizures and spikes identified by foramen ovale electrodes in Alzheimer's disease,” was published in Nature Medicine. "While it is not surprising to find dysfunction in brain networks in Alzheimer's disease, our novel finding that networks involved in memory function can become silently epileptic could lead to opportunities to target that dysfunction with new or existing drugs to reduce symptoms or potentially alter the course of the disease," Andrew Cole, director of the hospital's epilepsy service, said in a press release. He was senior author of the study. Many researchers have tried, but failed, to identify the biological mechanisms underlying Alzheimer's.
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