James Hewett sitting at his deskNeuromodulators are substances that influence information processing and transfer within the nervous system. In general, the research in my laboratory explores the function of endogenous neuromodulatory mechanisms activated within the brain under pathological conditions, with a particular interest in epilepsy. Epilepsy is a debilitating disorder of the brain whereby groups of neurons become prone to abnormal hyperexcitability, provoking episodes of spontaneous seizure behavior. The prevalence of epilepsy in the general population is ~1% and brain injury can increase the risk of acquiring the malady by 10-30 times depending on the nature of the injury. Cures and preventative measures remain elusive and the incidence of resistance to current antiepileptic drugs is a serious clinical limitation to the effective treatment of patients who suffer from epilepsy. We reason that a better understanding of the function of endogenous neuromodulatory mechanism in epilepsy may identify novel therapeutic targets for new antiepileptic drug development.

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