Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Seizures from brain injury are a target for treatment before dementia-causing brain changes occur

14 March 2021

Spreading Tau

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) after a car accident or fall can lead to debilitating chronic conditions such as epilepsy. Later in life, it also increases the risk of a patient developing dementia. Could this be because TBI-induced seizures accelerate the spread of tau, the toxic proteins that accumulate in the brain in dementia? To tackle this question, researchers studied zebrafish whose tau proteins were made fluorescent for easy tracking. After experiencing head injury, many zebrafish had reduced blood circulation (shown in the left panel of this video), seizure-like behaviours, and signs of that tau proteins were spreading through the brain. Treatment with anticonvulsant drugs helped not only to prevent their seizures, but also reduce tau proteins levels and slow neuron death. Additional research on this link between TBI seizures and dementia could offer new treatments to help reduce the risk and impact of neurodegeneration caused by tau proteins.

Written by Gaëlle Coullon

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