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NCSU Researchers Receive $328,500 Grant To Combat Epilepsy

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The National Institutes of Health has awarded a research at

North Carolina State University

a grant to develop new drug treatments for a form of epilepsy.

Doodipala Samba Reddy, an assistant professor of molecular biomedical sciences in NCSU's College of Veterinary Medicine, was awarded a grant worth $328,500. The project targets catamenial epilepsy. The disease can cause women of childbearing years to have seizures during menstrual cycles. Some 70 percent of women who suffer from epilepsy are affected by the catamenial disorder. No specific treatment has been developed for treatment of catamenial seizures.

Reddy will test the effectiveness of conventional and novel anti-epileptic drugs on a rat model of catamenial seizures. Reddy and NCSU researchers have discovered that the hormone progesterone provides some protection against the seizures. Progesterone is metabolized into a compound called allopregnanolone. Drops in the level of allopregnanolone near the end of menstrual cycles leave women susceptible to seizures, according to NCSU.

"One of the approaches to treating catamenial epilepsy is to replace the naturally occurring allopregnanolone with a synthetic version," Reddy said. "Our hypothesis is that a synthetic form of allopregnanolone would remain in the body longer and, in turn, provide protection from seizures for a longer period of time."

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