Three things you didn’t know about epilepsy and genes

Fall colors. Just a brief summary of how this post originated. Eckernförde is a small city north of Kiel and the weekly Sunday destination of my daughter and me because of the wave pool.  This past Sunday, daylight saving and the fact that she didn’t like her dinner had confused the little girl, and we had been awake since 4AM. As a consequence, she fell asleep on the way, and I kept driving to let her sleep. We made it as far as Haddeby, and I used this time to mentally put a post together that I had been planning for some time. These are the three things that are often misunderstood with regards to epilepsy and genes. Continue reading

C9orf72 expansions and neurodegenerative disease

Out of my league. I must admit that I know very little about the genetics of neurodegenerative disorders, but a recent article in the American Journal of Human Genetics caught my interest. Massive expansions of a hexanucleotide repeat in the first intron of C9orf72 are a known cause of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD)  and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). With a novel method for rapid screening for these expansions, the authors investigate a large cohort of patients with neurodegenerative disorders and population controls, providing an interesting example of how seemingly clear-cut monogenic disorders acquire an unanticipated degree of complexity. Continue reading