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Past and Present Definitions of Epileptogenesis and Its Biomarkers


Descriptions of epileptic seizures and epilepsy date back to antiquity, and research into fundamental mechanisms of epilepsy in animal models, as well as patients, has been carried out for over a century. Studies of epileptogenesis, however, as distinct from ictogenesis, have been pursued for only a few decades, and antiepileptogenesis, the prevention of epilepsy or its progression, and the reversal of the epileptogenic process or cure, are relatively recent interests of the basic research community. The goal to develop antiepileptogenic interventions would be greatly facilitated by the identification of reliable biomarkers of epileptogenesis that could be used to create cost-effective, high-throughput screening models for potential antiepileptogenic compounds, as well as enrich patient populations and serve as surrogate endpoints for clinical trials. Without such biomarkers, the cost for clinical validation of antiepileptogenic interventions would be prohibitive. Epileptogenic mechanisms, antiepileptogenic interventions, and biomarkers are likely to be specific for the many different causes of epilepsy, which include genetic influences, cell loss and synaptic plasticity, malformations of cortical development, and autoimmune disorders, to name but a few. A high priority is currently being placed on investigations to elucidate fundamental mechanisms of epileptogenesis and identify biomarkers for specific models of human epilepsy, such as mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, and a variety of pediatric diseases, including tuberous sclerosis and West syndrome.

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