Thursday, August 19, 2010


I recall the good and happy days when I was an epilepsy support group co ordinator in our local epilepsy society. My friends and I looked forward to meeting up, telling and updating each other about our epilepsy condition. We were a small group which made sharing very easy and quick. We uplift and inspire each other to live life bravely and normally, doing everything as any normal being would want to despite our odds.

We talked constantly about the challenges that epilepsy threw on us and how each one of us intended to outdo and defeat it successfully. We also had our once a month small "eat-out" gathering at our regular gazebo located in a park. Each of us brought our contribution of food, snacks and drinks. At the shady green scenic spot, we were a merry lot. Sweet, splendid, happy and meaningful moments were exchanged, shared and treasured in our minds and hearts.

I have not been around in the epilepsy support group for coming close to 3 years because of family commitments but the moment situation permits I will be running back to it again.

Are you part of any epilepsy society near you? Do you join any as a member and involve yourself actively in it's programs and activities? If there isn't any epilepsy society near you, do you bother to sign up and register yourself as a member of one or more epilepsy societies on the internet? If you have not done any of these, do it now. Why wait? It is all for your own benefits that you become part of one. After all, epilepsy is about breaking free from shadows, fears, barriers and darknesses.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Solving the mystery of bone loss from drug for epilepsy and bipolar disorder

Scientists are reporting a possible explanation for the bone loss that may occur following long-term use of a medicine widely used to treat epilepsy, bipolar disorder, and other conditions. The drug, valproate, appears to reduce the formation of two key proteins important for bone strength, they said. Their study, which offers a solution to a long-standing mystery, appears in ACS' monthly Journal of Proteome Research.

Glenn Morris and colleagues point out that use of valproate, first introduced more than 40 years ago for the prevention of seizures in patients with epilepsy, has expanded. Valproate now is prescribed for mood disorders, migraine headache, and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a rare genetic disease that causes loss of muscle control and movement. Many SMA patients develop weak bones as a result of the disease itself, making further bone loss from valproate especially undesirable. Doctors have known about the bone-loss side effect, but until now, there has been no molecular explanation.

In an effort to determine why bone loss occurs, the scientists profiled valproate's effects on more than 1,000 proteins in the cells of patients with SMA. They found that valproate reduced production of collagen, the key protein that gives bone its strength, by almost 60 percent. The drug also reduced levels of osteonectin, which binds calcium and helps maintain bone mass, by 28 percent. "The results suggest a possible molecular mechanism for bone loss following long-term exposure to valproate," the article notes.