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Scientists Study The Role Of Metabolism in Epilepsy

Update Date: Feb 20, 2014 10:53 AM EST

In a new research that explores a possible link between metabolic defects and seizures, researchers have found that diet influences susceptibility of seizures. In addition, they have also identified a common diabetes drug that might be useful in treating disorders like epilepsy. 

Researchers were able to make the connection by measuring fruit fly movement with affordable webcams. 

"This technique has allowed us to identify a number of metabolism-altering drugs that affect seizure susceptibility," said Dr. Daniel Kuebler, the principal investigator behind the experiment, in a press release. "It has opened up a new line of research looking at the effect dietary modifications have on seizure susceptibility."

The team also found that the metformin - a drug used to treat type II diabetes reduced the intensity of seizures. 

"Video tracking systems have been used widely to analyze Drosophila melanogaster movement and detect various abnormalities in locomotive behavior. [But] while these systems can provide a wealth of behavioral information, the cost and complexity of these systems can be prohibitive for many labs," read the article. 

Evidently the drug-screening model system suits best for labs on a tight budget. 

There is no known trigger behind the seizures in people suffering with epilepsy. Researchers are using the drug-screening technique that investigates the potential metabolic causes. 

"It is well known that certain diets, such as the ketogenic diet, have effects on seizures, but there is little agreement on the mechanism behind this diet," said Dr. Kuebler, "This technique allows us to better address this question."

The method was opted to be published in the video format because of its capacity to communicate scientific procedures better than text. 

"The ability to show the seizure behavior visually, [showing] exactly how the recording is done, made the journal a much more attractive option than print only journals," added Dr. Kuebler in the press release. "This low cost system is simple enough to set up in an undergraduate teaching lab and can allow for students to do some inquiry based learning labs on a budget."

The video demonstration of the method is published in the Journal of Visualized Experiments. 

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