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Changes in DNA May Increase the Risk of Developing Epilepsy

A large-scale study, recently published in the journal Nature Genetics, suggests that specific changes in DNA may increase the risk of developing epilepsy. The research is the largest genetic study of its kind and was conducted by more than 150 researchers in North America, South America, Europe, Australia and Asia.

For their study, the researchers identified 26 areas of DNA involved in the development of epilepsy and 29 genes that are likely contributing to epilepsy within those areas. After this, they compared DNA from nearly 30,000 people living with epilepsy alongside DNA from more than 52,500 people without the condition.

The research team identified 26 distinct changes to the DNA in people living with epilepsy and 19 changes in DNA that are specific to a type of epilepsy called genetic generalized epilepsy (GGE).

Dr. Gianpiero Cavalleri, PhD, a co-author of the study and a professor of human genetics at RCSI School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Science and Deputy Director of the SFI FutureNeuro Research Centre, says: “Gaining a better understanding of the genetic underpinnings of epilepsy is key to developing new therapeutic options and consequently a better quality of life for the over 50 million peopleTrusted Source globally living with epilepsy. The discoveries we report on here could only be achieved through international collaboration, on a global scale. We are proud of how the global community of scientists working to better understand the genetics of the epilepsies have pooled resources and collaborated effectively, for the benefit of people impacted the condition.”

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