Silent Seizures - May Mark Onset of Alzheimer’s, Researchers Find

By Sharon Moore on May 04, 2017

A breakthrough study may pave way to new treatments for millions of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, after finding that ’silent seizures’ could mark the onset of the disease. 

Researchers were able to observe the dysfunctional patterns in two patients by using fine wires to place electrodes into deep regions of their brains. They dubbed the episodes ’silent seizures’ because they don’t cause convulsions and aren’t detected by normal brain scans. 

’About 10 years ago, we were surprised to find ’silent seizures’ in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease.’ Said Dr Jeffrey Noebels, a professor of neurology and neuroscience at the institute. 

’These ’clinically silent seizures’ in the deep regions of the brain, we speculated, could lead to problems of memory.’

Doctors at Baylor College of Medicine were then able to observe ’clear silent seizures’ that weren’t detected by standard brain scans, known as electroencephalogram tests.

The none-convulsive seizures could be an early warning sign in the majority of Alzheimer’s patients, who have a sporadic form of the disease.

Dr Noebels added: ’This work with two patients proves the concept that ’silent seizures’ can occur in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.’ He adds that these can contribute to or accelerate the degenerative process underlying Alzheimer’s disease.

’This is a critical step toward a better understanding of network dysfunction in the disease and opens the window to novel therapeutic approaches for this common condition.’ he said.

Co-author Dr Alicia Goldman adds: ’From a physician’s perspective, I think this work opened my eyes toward the need to look deeper into our patients’ condition in order to improve the quality of their lives as well as that of their caregivers. 

Source of this article: 

’Silent seizures’ are the first sign of Alzheimer’s - and could help doctors catch the disease years in advance

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