June 10, 2021

Epilepsy Research News: June 2021

This month’s research news includes findings from CURE Epilepsy Post-Traumatic Epilepsy (PTE) Initiative member Dr. Elisa Zanier and colleagues, who have conducted a detailed characterization of a mouse model of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that they hope can be used to help pinpoint who is at risk for PTE following TBI. The findings from a study by former CURE Epilepsy grantee Dr. Scott Baraban and colleagues examining catastrophic childhood epilepsies using zebrafish with genetic mutations is also highlighted below.

We further report advances on potential ways to predict sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) risk based on information routinely gathered in clinical visits. Though this research is still in the preliminary phase, the researchers hope this method will make clinical discussions regarding SUDEP more targeted and useful.

Summaries of these research discoveries and more can be found below.

Research Discoveries

  • In-Depth Characterization of a Mouse Model of Post-Traumatic Epilepsy (PTE) (Featuring the research of several members of CURE Epilepsy’s PTE Initiative, including Dr. Elisa Zanier): A team of researchers featuring several members of CURE Epilepsy’s PTE Initiative, including Dr. Elisa Zanier, has recently characterized a mouse model of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). The researchers state that their extensive characterization of this model provides a way to identify sensitive measures of epilepsy development that may be used to understand ways to predict PTE in high-risk TBI patients. Learn more
  • Understanding Childhood Epilepsy (Featuring the research of former CURE Epilepsy researcher Dr. Scott Baraban): Dr. Scott Baraban and colleagues have used zebrafish with genetic mutations to model human catastrophic childhood epilepsies, which are characterized by hard-to-treat seizures and are frequently associated with developmental delays. The team has created an open-source database containing information from this study and is offering these zebrafish lines as a resource to the neuroscience community, hoping they can lead to the identification of new therapies. Learn more
  • Improving Ways to Predict SUDEP Risk: A study has found that a particular type of data analysis called a Bayesian logistic regression model provides a more accurate prediction of risk for SUDEP than traditional population-based estimates. The study authors state that they developed and validated the first predictive model for individualized SUDEP risk, based on routine clinical information. Learn more
  • Rethinking Antiseizure Medication Use in Newborns: In a recent study, researchers observed no difference in developmental outcomes among children aged 24 months who had acute seizures in the hospital as newborns, regardless of whether or not antiseizure medication was stopped or continued after the children left the hospital once seizures ended. The authors concluded that the results support discontinuing antiseizure medication for most newborns with acute symptomatic seizures (seizures that are associated with an “insult” or injury to the central nervous system), so long as the seizures stop before the newborn is discharged from the hospital. Learn more.
  • Employer Toolkit to Support People with Epilepsy: A new Employer Toolkit has launched in the United Kingdom (UK) this week to better support people with epilepsy in the workplace. The new toolkit is designed to give employers the confidence to help staff with epilepsy. Please note, the UK has its own regulatory and employment laws which may not be applicable in the United States or other countries. Learn more

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