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What are seizures and what can we do to stop them? Join us downstairs at the New Moon to hear about exciting new advances from three of UCL’s epilepsy researchers and for a chance to win Pint of Science-themed prizes!
Epilepsy… An exploration into seizure generation
Dr Vincent Magloire (Research Associate)
Our brain handles a wealth of information from our environment thanks to a subtle balance between two systems, the excitatory and inhibitory systems. Seizures result from a change in this balance in favour of excitation. I will describe how brain cells from the two systems normally cooperate and how a small change in one or the other can lead to seizures. Knowing which system is failing and how, opens new avenues in the development of treatments which aim to control seizures whilst having a minimal impact on the patient’s daily life.
Zooming in on brain cells
Dr Janosch Heller (Research Associate)
Biomedical research relies heavily on microscopy and other imaging systems. However, some important target molecules and processes are just too small to be imaged with conventional techniques. I will give a brief history of the use and developments of microscopy in Neuroscience; from Santiago Ramón y Cajal and Camillo Golgi, to electron microscopy and to the novel ‘super-resolution’ techniques. These new methods will help researchers to study the intricate events that govern our thoughts and memories and that can go wrong in diseases such as epilepsy.
On-demand "brain control" to stop seizures
Professor Dimitri Kullmann (Professor of Neurology)
Most people with epilepsy lead relatively normal lives, but some continue to have seizures despite medication. This is mainly because drugs don't distinguish between seizure-generating circuits and the rest of the brain. I will describe progress with genetic manipulations that make neurons sensitive to light or chemicals (optogenetics and chemogenetics, respectively). These tools can be used to stop seizures "on-demand", and could render epilepsy surgery, the treatment of last resort, obsolete.