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SCIENCE FILE | Science in Brief

Protein Deficiency May Cause Epileptic Seizures, Scientist Say

July 11, 1996|From Times Staff and wire reports

Suggesting a possible new link between protein deficiency and some cases of epilepsy, UC Davis researchers have found that rats deprived of certain protein components are more susceptible to a drug that causes seizures than were well-fed rats.

The researchers, led by veterinary scientist Dorothy Gietzen, speculate that when the diet lacks some essential amino acids, the so-called building blocks of protein, a brain structure that monitors amino acid levels may trigger a seizure.

The findings, released in the American Journal of Physiology, would appear to have more potential impact in Third World nations, where protein deficiencies and epilepsy are more common than in the developed world.

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