The Link Between Stress And Seizures


Business man at a computer looking very stressed. Ref: www.dreamstime.com

People with epilepsy frequently report emotional stress in the lead-up to a seizure; but although the association between stress and seizures is well recognised, the mechanisms for this is still not understood.

The steroid hormone cortisol is secreted by the body in spurts over the course of the day, and its levels increase dramatically during stress. Cortisol is known to have major effects on both neuronal activity and on the ways that brain cells communicate, so it could plausibly play a role in seizures. Professor Stafford Lightman at the University of Bristol, and colleagues in Bristol and Exeter, have been awarded £29,208 over 24 months, for a pilot grant entitled How do stress hormones trigger seizures? in which they will investigate this.

During the study the team will use animal and mathematical models to examine precisely how changes in cortisol levels alter the electrical activity of neuronal circuits in the brain that are known to be associated with seizures. They will later use synthetic compounds that regulate the activity of steroids, to find out whether stress-related seizures can be reduced or even prevented.

If successful, this grant could potentially lead to the development of new treatments for epilepsy.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s