According to a study published on Friday, so-called perinatal networks were discovered in 1893 by the Italian neurobiologist Camillo Golgi, but their role was not known until the completion of the team at the Carilion Institute of Virginia State University that regulate electrical impulses in the brain.
When these nets are destroyed, epileptic seizures may occur, which were discovered when the brains of rats with very aggressive brain tumors called gliomas were examined.
It is the only cancer that can not spread because it is restricted by the skull. Therefore, in large quantities, it secrete a neurotransmitter called glutamate, which kills the surrounding cells to allow tumor growth.
Researchers at Virginia Tech also found that the tumor attacks the network, dissolving it, making it difficult to regulate the electrical impulses in the brain that can then fall from seizures.
H. Steven White, an epilepsy researcher, said the findings of the team led by biologist Harald Sontheimer may concern other forms of epilepsy.
"This study suggests a possible way to modify the development and progression of epilepsy, which would reduce the disorder in patients," he said.
According to the World Health Organization, over 50 million people around the world suffer from epilepsy. About one third of patients do not respond to existing treatments.