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Natasha has been doing research on a neurological disorder called Epilepsy at Emory University. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes spontaneous and unprovoked seizures. It is characterized by hyposynchrony and excessive discharge of neurons. In order to be epileptic a person must experience two or more of these seizures. It is the fourth most common neurological disorder in the United States. 1/3 of the cases of people with epilepsy are refractory or resistant to treatment. Seizures are classified into two categories general and partial. Characteristics of general seizures are:

  • effects both hemispheres of the brain
  • loss of consciousness
  • absence seizures
  • convulsions
  • ex. Tonic clonic ( discussed in presentation)

Characteristics of partial seizures are:

  • focal seizures that start in one part of the hemisphere of the brain and then spreads to progress into a generalized seizure
  • simple-retain
  • complex-lose consciousness

The lab that she was working at researches epilepsies that are caused by genetic mutation. For her research experiment, she used mice that were wild type, heterozygous, and homozygous male and female. The heterozygous and homozygous mice were mutant. She  induced seizures into these mice. The wild type mice were not effected, but the heterozygous and homozygous mice either died or lose weight and died. It seems that losing weight comes before death. In conclusion, the DY mutant mice had an increase in susceptibility to seizures, homozygous mice had an average life span of 26.7 days, her mice model results are similar to the results of other SCN1A models, and mice models can be used to understand the mechanisms of epilepsy. She will do future tests that involve EEGs, drug treatments, and behavioral analysis.