A new discovery, the results of which have been published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, shows that it is possible to predict seizures before they occur by analyzing particular molecules that are fragments of RNA transfer (tRNA). The latter is a particular chemical substance, related to DNA, which makes it possible to construct proteins within cells.
When cells are “stressed,” the tRNAs are cut into small fragments. These fragments, present in the blood, can reach high concentrations and this reflects the fact that brain cells are under stress. This state, if detected, can be considered as a symptom of an impending epileptic attack. This information could lead to the creation of an early warning system, something that could be of strong help to all people suffering from epilepsy as they might know in advance when they are at high risk of attack.
As Marion Hogg, lead author of the study and researcher at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), points out, “people with epilepsy often report that one of the most difficult aspects of living with the disease is never knowing when an attack will occur.”
On the basis of this research, scholars now hope to be able to create an alert system, similar to that of a trivial blood glucose meter, to predict seizures.