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VA RESEARCHERS IDENTIFY PROTEIN LINKED TO EPILEPTIC SEIZURES IN CHILDREN

 VA RESEARCHERS IDENTIFY PROTEIN LINKED
 TO EPILEPTIC SEIZURES IN CHILDREN
 /ADVANCE/ WASHINGTON, July 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The trigger for a type of epileptic seizure in children may have been discovered by researchers at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center and Duke University in Durham, N.C. A specific brain protein called the GABA-B receptor may cause the seizure known as petit mal, according to a study team led by VA's Dr. David Hosford. The cause of these seizures has not previously been identified.
 According to a report that will appear in the July 17 issue of Science, the link between GABA-B receptors and the seizures is important because it may indicate a new way to treat the seizures.
 The VA-Duke study suggests that drugs that reduce the stimulation of this brain protein could also prevent the seizures, hopefully without the side effects present with current therapies. More important, newer therapies may treat the children who are not helped by drugs currently on the market.
 The key to this study was the use of a special strain of mice with seizures resembling those of children with petit mal epilepsy. When the GABA-B receptor was activated in the mice, seizures resembling petit mal resulted.
 While there are several drugs available to treat children with petit mal epilepsy, several commonly cause drowsiness. "It doesn't really help the child if you stop his seizures with a drug that makes him too sleepy to learn in the classroom," said Hosford.
 Hosford's study is one of 11,000 research projects underway at 121 VA facilities nationwide.
 -0- 7/16/92/1800
 /NOTE: For further information on this research, Dr. David Hosford, study team leader who is quoted in the release, can be reached at 919-286-6811./
 /CONTACT: Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Public Affairs, 202-535-8300/ CO: Department of Veterans Affairs; Duke University ST: District of Columbia IN: HEA SU:


DC-MH -- DC007 -- 9583 07/15/92 13:19 EDT
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Date:Jul 15, 1992
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