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Shining a light on the brain: optogenetics and epilepsy

An estimated 3 million Americans have epilepsy, but most of the fundamental questions about the condition have yet to be answered. In fact, up to 40 percent of epilepsy patients don’t achieve seizure control with traditional treatment using medication.

UMN expert Esther Krook-Magnuson, Ph.D., has taken a targeted approach to studying epilepsy. She uses a technique called optogenetics, which uses light to alter brain activity, and could be used to stop seizures.

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Epilepsy drug lamotrigine use in pregnancy: fewer doctor visits ahead?

For women with epilepsy, controlling health-threatening seizures is especially important during a pregnancy.

Taking the right dose of medicine can be key… and challenging.

As a baby grows, a pregnant woman’s body weight must also grow to support her baby. Consequently, a pregnant woman may require more medication to keep seizures at bay than she did pre-pregnancy. Pregnant women with epilepsy regularly visit the doctor to have blood drawn and adjust their antiepilepsy medicine dosage.

Now, new data analyses from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy and Harvard Medical School find one fifth of pregnant women may someday be able to control seizures with fewer visits to the doctor.

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U of M study examines the impact of epilepsy in Native Americans

A recent study from the University of Minnesota’s Department of Neurology and School of Public Health shows how epilepsy impacts Upper Midwest Native Americans.  According to U of M researchers, steps must be taken to improve care in this community including addressing barriers such as limited epilepsy care and transportation access, issues of trust concerning the medical system, and the startling economic impacts suffered by those affected with epilepsy within the Native American community.

The latest study, “Comparison Study of Beliefs and Quality of Health Care of Native Americans With and Without Epilepsy” examined 55 Native Americans in Minnesota, 23 with epilepsy and 32 without.  The study was made possible through a grant from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and outreach via tribal offices, the Native American Community Clinic and the Minneapolis American Indian Center.

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MINCEP physicians join UMPhysicians, epilepsy care options expand

The epilepsy programs of MINCEP© and University of Minnesota Physicians have integrated, expanding epilepsy care options for patients across Minnesota.

As a result of the integration, MINCEP physicians and staff have joined the UMPhysicians organization and UMPhysicians will operate the MINCEP inpatient program in partnership with University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview, and the MINCEP outpatient programs, including the clinic in St. Louis Park.

Over the past months, the two groups have collaborated closely to ensure the integration plans provide an effective transition for physicians, staff and patients. The practice will be brought together in phases over the first six months of 2013.

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