Tag Archives: epilepsy

GABA Stops or Prevents Seizures

GABA, also referred to a gamma-aminobutyric acid, is an amino acid. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and serve different functions in the body. Historically this amino has been used as a natural sedative, to help with relaxation and sleep since it is acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. However, it also has anti-anxiety and anti-seizure properties, and is an anti-convulsant.

GABA is a non-essential amino acid, meaning that the body produces it (you can also get it from protein foods or take a supplement) but sometimes it is still deficient depending on what is happening in the body.

According to studies, this amino acid can aid with sleep, inhibition, calming the nerves, drug dependency (including alcoholism), is used in antiepileptic drugs (epilepsy), and according to a study entitled ‘Molecular mechanisms of antiseizure drug activity at GABAA receptors’ by L John Greenfield Jr, is used to prevent seizures.

GABAA receptor (GABAR) helps prevent seizures

GABAA receptor (GABAAR) is, says the researcher, a “major target of antiseizure drugs (ASD’s).” There are actually a number of different agents that act at GABARs’ distinct receptor sites that can eliminate or prevent seizures.

Some of these agents include: loreclezole, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates, in which the GABARs are the only known substance used due to its antiseizure ability.

However, this is only one of a few possible antiseizure mechanisms in these agents: topiramate, losigamone, retigabine, felbamate, and stiripentol.

Other agents, which affect GABAergic “’tone’ by regulating the synthesis, transport or breakdown of GABA” also exist. The development of ganaxolone was a response to the neurosteroid allopregnanolone (a progesterone metabolite, which intensifies GABAR function).

This amino is an intrinsic component to epileptic patients. The efficacy of GABAR function can change when someone develops or has chronic epilepsy, so Greenfield says that it “may provide an additional target for ‘GABAergic; ASDs.”

The conclusion was that targeting the altered receptors may “provide a novel approach for seizure prevention.”



Amino Acid GABA Vital For Normal Brain Activity And Memory

Our brains use on average only 20% of our total energy. But how do they use it? Studying neurotransmitters like the amino acid GABA can lead to a greater understanding of schizophrenia, epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.

Gamma-Aminobutyric_acid, or GABA, is a non-essential is an amino acid, which is created in our bodies from glutamic acid. It’s a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, essential in maintaining brain function. Simply put, GABA controls neuron activity and prevents nerve cells from firing too often, too quickly.

The activity of GABA in our brains can be measured with magnetic resonance spectroscopy. A study by Lars Michels, Ernst Martin et al, from University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland, was developed to examine GABA neurotransmitter levels in the brains of volunteers performing certain tasks.

Would GABA levels be increased during performance? Would amino acid GABA levels be linked to reaction time and task accuracy? The researchers devised a match-to-sample working memory task, which subjects performed under magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

Neurotransmitter GABA’s role in working memory

Working_memory is a theoretical concept, not an actual physical part of our brain. It’s the term for our brain’s ability to examine and manipulate new information. Working memory is associated with cognitive development, and studies show it declines with old age.

Sixteen healthy right-handed volunteers took part in the study. They were shown five letters for a stimulus period of 2 seconds. These letters had to be maintained in memory for a retention period of 5 seconds before a single letter appeared for a probe interval of 2 seconds. The subjects had to indicate by button press whether or not this single letter was part of the stimulus set.

Results showed that GABA levels increased significantly during the working memory test. The amino acid GABA therefore has an essential role in working memory.