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HIH News

Important gene defect found for the most common form of hereditary epilepsy

Epilepsy has many forms—the idiopathic generalized epilepsy is the most common one. The symptoms include the brief loss of consciousness (so-called absences) to major attacks including muscles spasmand jerks (grand mal). Very often there is more than one family member affected. Until now, the hereditary factors involved in the development of the disease are not yet fully understood—it is clear, however, that several genes play a role. A team headed by Prof. Dr. Holger Lerche from the Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research and the University Hospital Tübingen now reveals a group of genes that are altered in the disease. Due to their mutation a neurotransmitter receptor is damaged that is responsible to inhibit the neural activity in the brain. The study has been published in the current issue of The Lancet Neurology. For the German Neurological Society (DGN) and the German Epilepsy Society (DGfE), the work is an “important finding that will help us to treat affected patients in a more targeted manner.”

… read the complete press release (in German only)