Epilepsy general

The supply of antiepileptic medication in the event of a ‘no-deal Brexit’

In December of 2018 it became apparent that in the event of serious drug shortages as a result of a ‘no deal Brexit’, the Government had plans to use emergency powers to authorise pharmacists to overrule medical prescriptions. This ‘serious shortage protocol’ caused serious concern amongst a coalition of epilepsy and neurological organisations who are concerned with safeguarding patients. The read more

What would the impact of a no-deal Brexit have on the epilepsy research community in the UK?

We are all of us wondering what the repercussions of a no-deal Brexit would have on our lives but in the following summary, our CEO, Maxine Smeaton spells out a few of the possible effects of a no-deal on the epilepsy research community. We at ERUK, along with other epilepsy charities are committed to maximising support for medical research in read more

Big win for people with epilepsy: epilepsy medications will be exempt from Brexit after coalition intervenes

The Government has pledged to exempt epilepsy patients from its plans for post-Brexit medicine supplies after experts said some people could die. The Department of Health and Social Care is proposing to give pharmacists powers to dispense alternative drugs if those prescribed by GPs are in short supply after Britain leaves the EU. But the heads of Britain’s largest epilepsy read more

Could drugs licensed for other conditions help in the treatment of epilepsy?

Posted 3 Jan 2019 in Anti-epileptic drugs / Epilepsy general

“Taking a new look at medicines that are already approved for clinical use may help identify treatments that could reduce seizures and improve the quality of life for people with epilepsy who have been unable to find effective therapies,” said Vicky Whittemore, PhD, at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). The development of new drugs is a read more

Is it possible to distinguish between epilepsy and psychogenic non-epileptic seizures?

“Many individuals are being treated for epilepsy who do not actually have this disorder”, so says Peter Crino, MD, PhD, Chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures (PNES) are common and may account for up to 20% of people being treated for epilepsy. PNES are events of psychological origin, resembling read more

Can seizures in Angelman syndrome be controlled by gene therapy?

Angelman syndrome is a severe genetic neurological disorder that occurs in children and is most often diagnosed between the ages of 3 and 7 when the clinical symptoms become apparent. Amongst other symptoms are intellectual and developmental delay. The syndrome is also characterised by epileptic seizures which occur in 90% of cases. There is no known cure and there is read more

Brain seizures can occur if perineuronal nets are dissolved

Scientists at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have determined that perineuronal nets modulate electrical impulses in the brain. What’s more, brain seizures can occur if the nets are dissolved. These findings have implications for some types of acquired epilepsy caused through trauma, tumours or infection of the brain. And further, if the team’s hypotheses are correct, the findings could read more

Rapid advances in genomics mean that more people with epilepsy may benefit

Researchers from UT Southwestern Medical Centre have shown how quickly rapid advancements in genomics may benefit epilepsy patients. In a third of epilepsy cases reviewed in children, there was a change of diagnosis based on the new available data and in some cases this led to doctors prescribing more effective treatments. The study suggests that reviews should be conducted every read more

The future of epilepsy research: new personalised treatment options and novel therapeutics.

It is estimated that the first human genome sequenced in 2003 cost almost $1 billion and took four years to complete. Fast-forward fifteen years, and remarkably, genomic technologies have advanced so quickly that DNA sequencing is now a valuable and cost-effective clinical tool. The field of epilepsy research has certainly benefitted from genomics, providing a rapid advance in our understanding read more

How can we determine which antiepileptic medication is the best treatment option where monotherapy is the aim?

Posted 16 Nov 2018 in Anti-epileptic drugs / Epilepsy general

For cases of newly diagnosed epilepsy it is often difficult to determine which antiepileptic drug will be the best treatment option where monotherapy is the aim. At the moment Simona Lattanzi and colleagues of the Marche Polytechnic University in Ancona, Italy believe that current approaches do not provide “sufficient data to select an optimal agent as monotherapy for particular patient read more

What’s new and exciting in epilepsy research?

We asked Dr Robert Wykes, a translational medicine scientist for his personal perspective.  Here is his response: Despite decades of new anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) reaching market, the problem of drug refractory epilepsy remains. 25-30% of patients do not respond appropriately to AEDs. However in recent years advances in technology and non-pharmacological approaches are beginning to address this clinical need. We read more

The Neurological Alliance is asking for your help to fill in a survey which will shape neurological services for the future

Posted 6 Nov 2018 in Epilepsy general

If you or a loved one has epilepsy please take time out to complete the Neurological Alliance patient experience survey. The Neurological Alliance, which brings together organisations working to make life better for millions of people in England with a neurological condition has a new survey available that they would like you to support. The survey aims to collect vital read more

What does the future of Epilepsy Research hold?

Dr Simon Keller at the University of Liverpool was awarded a £73,220 project grant in this year’s funding round.  We asked Dr Keller and his colleague Professor Tony Marson for their perspective on what the next ten years of epilepsy research hold. This is what they said: “It is difficult to know for sure how treatments for seizures will improve read more

Sleep apnoea and epilepsy: is there a relationship?

What is the relationship between epilepsy and sleep apnoea? In previous studies it has been shown that a greater number of people with epilepsy also experience sleep apnoea, than in the general population. Researchers from Rutgers University wanted to develop a screening tool to detect sleep apnoea in patients with epilepsy as it is known that sleep apnoea can increase read more

Personal experience and scientific evidence – what does it feel like to have a seizure?

What does it feel like to have a seizure? Whilst neurologists will say that a seizure is caused by an over-excitation of neuronal activity in the brain, some people describe their experience as an ‘earthquake, starting slow and growing’. Now, studies at Jefferson (Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University), have shown that some types of seizure paradoxically begin with a read more

Sleep disorders and epilepsy

Sleep disorders in people with epilepsy can exacerbate their symptoms and often remains undiagnosed. Now researchers from Rutgers University have developed a tool to help neurologists identify people with obstructive sleep apnoea whose epilepsy may be magnified by their sleep disorder.  Identifying sleep disorders and treating them can help in seizure control in some people.  At the moment specialists have read more

Paediatric epilepsy care

In the early 2000s paediatric neurologists and the British Paediatric Neurology Association (BPNA) realised that there were shortcomings in the standard of care in the treatment of children with epilepsy.  It was clear that many children with epilepsy in the UK were treated by paediatricians with no specialised training in epilepsy.   And appalling as this finding was, it was read more

Can we predict who will develop epilepsy following brain trauma?

Posted 25 Sep 2018 in Epilepsy and its causes / Epilepsy general

  Is it possible to predict those people who will develop epilepsy following brain trauma? Acquired epilepsy does not occur immediately after brain injury. Visible symptoms can occur months, or even years after the traumatic event, according to Professor Gluckman, professor of engineering science and mechanics, neurosurgery and biomedical engineering and associate director, Penn State Centre for Neural Engineering. In read more

Neurostimulation may offer hope for memory enhancement in epilepsy

Posted 14 Sep 2018 in Memory / Epilepsy general / Living with epilepsy

Despite memory difficulties being a top concern for people with epilepsy, there are currently no existing treatments available to directly target memory issues that are related to epilepsy. This was what motivated researchers from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth University, in the U.S. to investigate neurostimulation. Stephen Meisenhelter and Dr Barbara Jobst reviewed 61 recent research studies on read more

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