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August 10, 2020

New vitamin K-based Drug Shows Promise Against Medication-Resistant Epilepsy

The compound developed by Chan and Chou, a modified form of naturally occurring vitamin K, completely eliminated seizure activity in the mouse models.

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August 4, 2020

CURE Update: Investing in Research During COVID-19

In this update, learn how we're supporting critical research projects and you – our community.

July 31, 2020

FDA Approves Epidiolex® (cannabidiol) for Treatment of Another Severe Epilepsy Syndrome

The FDA approved Epidiolex oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) in patients one year of age and older.

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July 31, 2020

CURE Discovery: Temporal Lobe Epilepsy and Memory Impairment

Disrupted communication being two areas of the brain key in memory and learning may be responsible for memory issues in people with TLE.

July 30, 2020

Do Interictal EEG Findings Reflect Cognitive Function in Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy?

Frontal lobe cognitive functions are affected in patients with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy.

July 30, 2020

The Importance of Mental Health in Improving Quality of Life in Transition-Aged Patients with Epilepsy

This study aimed to examine the relation between quality of life and mental health for adolescents with epilepsy.

July 28, 2020

Co-Existing Psychiatric Disorders and Factors Associated with Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures

These results highlight that several socio-economic and demographic factors are associated with occurrence of PNES.

July 28, 2020

Machine Learning and Wearable Devices of the Future

Application of machine learning using the data recorded with wearable devices from a large number of patients could change radically the way we diagnose and manage patients with epilepsy.

July 28, 2020

Women with Drug-Resistant Epilepsy: Surgery or Pregnancy First?

Women with epilepsy who undergo surgery for epilepsy before their pregnancies can expect fewer seizures and lower AED burden during pregnancy.

July 24, 2020

Development of an epilepsy electronic patient portal in a post COVID-19 world

In the aftermath of COVID-19, it is highly unlikely that the healthcare sector will return to a "business as usual" way of delivering services.

July 24, 2020

A Gut Geeling about the Ketogenic Diet in Epilepsy

The effectiveness of the ketogenic diet in these animal models of epilepsy appears to be absolutely dependent on the presence of gut microbiota.

July 24, 2020

Looks like epilepsy but isn’t: The disease that is deadly, largely undiagnosed and untreated

Press release, published on https://www.monash.edu/ One in four people who are tested for epilepsy do not have the disease but instead have a psychological condition called psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES). Today (21 July) in the prestigious journal, Neurology, Monash researchers explain the disease, which if it goes undetected can be deadly.About one quarter of people who are admitted to hospital for an epilepsy evaluation because they are experiencing uncontrolled seizures do not have the disease. Instead what they have is psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES), which manifests with what appear to be epileptic seizures and actually but have a psychological rather than a neurological basis, with the patients often having a history of early life abuse. These events, also known as “functional seizures” were recognised as “hysteria” by Sigmund Freud in Viennese women, and formed the basis for his psychodynamic theories.This disorder has been poorly understood, researched and treated by the medical profession, and is often associated with significant stigma. However, new research reveals that patients with PNES have an almost three times increased risk of dying, with for people under 40 years this risk being approximately 8 times increased.According to Professor Terry O’Brien, Head, Department of Neuroscience & Head, Central Clinical School, Monash University, PNES is often misdiagnosed by clinicians because of the similarity of their attacks to epilepsy, and treated inappropriately with anti-epileptic drugs and even on occasions ICU admissions. Their management “falls between cracks” between neurologists and psychiatrists, and they often end up poorly managed by the health care system. “Patients present to neurologists clinics and when diagnosed as not having epilepsy are usually discharged, but most psychiatrists are also unwilling to manage them because of its physical manifestations such as seizures,” he said. “The condition is often under diagnosed, often inappropriately treated and those with it can struggle to find someone to treat it. To further confuse matters, up to one in five people with PNES also suffer from epilepsy.”Professor O’Brien works with Dr Toby Winton-Brown, a neuropsychiatrist at Monash University and Alfred Health, who has started Australia’s first PNES Clinic in Australia at the Alfred Hospital. The clinic is so over-subscribed that it already has a greater than 6 months waiting list despite only being started for the last year.The study, led by Professor O’Brien with colleagues from the Royal Melbourne, St Vincent’s, Alfred and Austin Hospitals and The University of Melbourne, found that while mortality is raised in people with epilepsy - having a PNES increases the risk of death in both those with just PNES and those who also have epilepsy.The study looked at over 5500 patients admitted into the video epilepsy monitoring units in three metropolitan Melbourne hospitals over a 20-year period from 1995. Mortality was determined in patients diagnosed with PNES, epilepsy or both conditions, by linkage to the Australian National Death Index (NDI). Lifetime history of psychiatric disorders in PNES was determined from formal neuropsychiatric reports.Of the 5,508 patients enrolled one in 8 (674 or 12.5%) were diagnosed with PNES, slightly more than half (3064 or 55.6%) with epilepsy, while 175 (3.2%) were found to have both conditions, and 1,595 (29.0%) received other diagnoses or had no diagnosis made.The researchers found that patients with PNES are 2.5 times as likely to die early that the general population at their age, while people less than 30 years of age had an 800% increased risk of dying. Amongst deaths in patients diagnosed with PNES, 20% of deaths in those younger than 50 years attributed to suicide, and “epilepsy” was recorded as the cause of death in 24%.According to Professor O’Brien, people with PNES have a similar mortality rate to those with drug-resistant epilepsy. “This emphasises the importance of prompt diagnosis, identification of risk factors, and the implementation of appropriate strategies to prevent potential avoidable deaths,” he said.Nightscales R, McCartney L, Auvrez C, ... O’Brien TJ, Mortality in patients with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures. Neurology® 2020;00:1-10. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000009855For Media Enquiries please contact:E: media@monash.edu T: +61 (0) 425 725 836

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