Epilepsy

Photo: North Carolina license plates
Flickr User Eugena Ossi

Almost two dozen laws will go into effect on Jan. 1, impacting issues including health, transportation and firearm ownership in North Carolina.

Duke Health's Raleigh Hospital
Duke Medicine

  State lawmakers have approved a bill that would allow the use of a marijuana oil to help treat childhood seizures.

Researchers say the hemp oil extract, known as cannabidiol (CBD), is not psychoactive and would be used to treat only debilitating seizure disorders.

Several lawmakers, like Gladys Robinson (D-Guilford), showed their support for the bill by relating their experiences of having family members with epilepsy.

A magnified microscopic image from Duke researchers in the epilepsy study.
Duke University

Researchers at Duke University say they're another step closer to creating preventative treatment for epilepsy.  A study released Thursday says scientists controlled a particular receptor in the brains of mice linked to epileptic seizures.  They were able to stop the development of permanent epilepsy, even after the mice experienced a series of seizures.  Jim McNamara is a Duke neuroscience professor and lead author of the study.  He says the receptor could be a target for future drugs to prevent epilepsy in humans.

"Ideally, what you would like is to be able to intervene for a brief period of time and have that intervention be effective for prevention, because you can minimize unwanted effects of the drug," McNamara said. "You don't have to be on the drug for the rest of your life."