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18 March 2015

Photosensitive epilepsy - gene mutation discovered

Research published today (March 18) has thrown new light on the underlying  cause of photosensitive epilepsy. The research, which included work carried out by the UK charity Epilepsy Society, has concluded that a gene mutation is a risk factor for some people with photosensitive epilepsy.

Only around five per cent of people with epilepsy have seizures triggered by flashing lights - although public perception is that it is a lot more common. Photosensitive seizures also feature in some specific epilepsy syndromes.

Professor Sanjay Sisodiya, right, who leads the genetic research at Epilepsy Society, said: 'This is a really exciting breakthrough - it's the first time  a genetic cause for photosensitive epilepsy has been identified. We're really beginning to make progress in unlocking the genetic code of epilepsy in some people.'

The latest research was carried out on 580 people with  photosensitive epilepsy  and identified mutations in the  gene CHD2.

Professor Sisodiya said: 'This opens up new avenues for research, especially linked to the work we are doing on brain excitability.' 

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