Fruit Flies and Epilepsy

Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder, affecting people who have had two seizures more than twenty-four hours apart. Epileptic seizures occur when the normal pattern of neurological activity is disturbed, causing convulsions, muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness. Fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) are viable for research in human diseases, as they share 75% of the genes that cause diseases in humans. Scientists studied fruit flies to discover the genetic cause of febrile seizures, which are brought on by high fever. They found that a certain mutation prevented specialized cells from regulating brain over-activity. They hope that further research will reveal a mutation that can counter febrile seizures and open opportunities for gene therapy and a possible cure.

[Feature Photo: Fruit Fly Author: Tambako The Jaguar (CC BY-ND 2.0)]