Researchers at Florida Atlantic University and The Scripps Research Institute,  in the US, have developed a new animal model of epilepsy that will allow the screening of hundreds of thousands of potential antiepileptic compounds. This work is published in the leading scientific journal, Plos OneThe team, led by Dr Ken Dawson-Scully, genetically modified microscopic worms called C. elegans and were able to chemically or electrically induce short seizures in their nervous systems.When they treated the animals with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) that are already approved for use in humans, they saw that their recovery from seizures improved.Dr Dawson-Scully commented: “The fact that … these worms react well to antiepileptic drugs, makes this new assay a perfect model for high-speed drug screens.” He also noted that, with this new approach, testing potential new AEDs would cost a fraction, both in money and time, compared with existing models.AEDs are efficient in controlling seizures in approximately two thirds of people with epilepsy. Some people with drug-resistant epilepsy might be eligible for surgery, where the area of the brain in which seizure arise is removed; however this is a highly invasive approach. Being able to test new compounds in a fast and cost-effective way could dramatically speed up the process of developing new AEDs that may benefit a larger number of people.C. elegans has been used as a model organism for decades to study the genetic and molecular mechanisms of many conditions, including neurological disorders.Author: Dr Özge ÖzkayaClick here for more articles about brain science including genetics.Click here for more articles about other treatments for epilepsy.