A new drug that selectively affects potassium channels in the brain may offer effective treatment for epilepsy and prevent tinnitus, UConn neurophysiologist Anastasios Tzingounis and colleagues report in the Journal of Neuroscience.
Epilepsy and tinnitus are both caused by overly excitable nerve cells. Healthy nerves have a built-in system that slams on the brakes when they get too excited. But in some people this braking system doesn’t work, and the nerves run amok, signaling so much that the brain gets overloaded and has a seizure (epilepsy) or hears phantom ringing (tinnitus). About 65 million people worldwide are affected by epilepsy.