Irish scientists believe they have discovered a potential way to warn epilepsy sufferers of oncoming seizures.
There are about 40,000 people in Ireland who suffer with epilepsy, and the current treatments are ineffective for
around a third of these.
However, a new examination of the blood of epilepsy patients found a pattern of molecules that appear before a seizure occurs.
The warning could be hugely beneficial to sufferers, so that they can ensure they are in a safe place ahead of the seizure taking place.
The study was carried out by FutureNero and The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland researchers.
Dr Marion Hogg was the lead author of the report. She said: “People with epilepsy often report that one of the most difficult aspects of living with the disease is never knowing when a seizure will occur.
“The results of this study are very promising. We hope that our tRNA research will be a key first step toward developing an early warning system.”
tRNA is the transfer of ribonucleic acid, a type of molecule within the blood that is closely related to DNA.
The team behind the research has found that fragment levels of three tRNAs spike in the blood hours before a seizure.
That information could be lifesaving for an epilepsy sufferer.
Professor David Henshall, Director of FutureNeuro and co-author on the report said: “New technologies to remove the unpredictability of uncontrolled seizures for people with epilepsy are a very real possibility.
“Building on this research we in FutureNeuro hope to develop a test prototype, similar to a blood sugar monitor that can potentially predict when a seizure might occur.”