Over 2.7 million Americans suffer from Epilepsy. Its disabling affects are well known, from petit mall seizures which incapacitate patients for brief periods to grand mal seizures which can lead to physical injuries, coma, and death. While some epilepsy patients benefit from medication which allows them to function in their daily lives, others suffer from “refractory epilepsy” which does not respond to treatment.
For those with refractory epilepsy, new research suggests there may be hope on the horizon. See New York Times, June 4, 2012. Scientists have uncovered what may be a correlation between epilepsy and inflammation–the defensive response of the immune system to injuries or foreign bodies– in the brain. While inflammation has been previously linked to seizures resulting from encephalitis, and to infantile spasms in children, the new studies suggest that inflammation may be a component of seizure disorders in general. Scientists have hypothesized that seizures are either caused by an immune response triggering neurons in the brain, or by the distracting effects of a brain injury on glial cells, which regulate brain activity.
Scientists have now developed a molecule known as VX-765, which is designed to work on inflammatory processes. While the drug trial is in its early stages, it appears that the drug reduces the number of seizures in those with refractory epilepsy over time.
We at Bonny G. Rafel are experienced in handling disability claims based on epilepsy, and can assist in helping your insurance company in understanding your illness and your symptoms. We hope that this new information about the cause of epilepsy will further help insurance companies to understand the biological processes that lead to the disease’s disabling affects.
– By Sara E. Kaplan, Esq.