News from Epilepsy Research UK

ERUK study shows promising results for two antiepileptic drugs in pregnancy

An Epilepsy Research UK-funded study has shown that taking the antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) levetiracetam or topiramate during pregnancy may not have a negative impact on the baby’s IQ and thinking skills. The research, which also confirms the risks associated with valproate (another AED), is published in Neurology® online. There is accumulating evidence that exposure to valproate before birth is linked to a significantly increased chance of birth defects, developmental problems and lower IQ, especially at higher dosages. However, read more

Assessing anti-epileptic drug risk in pregnancy: are new methods as reliable as traditional ones?

Posted 24 Aug 2016 in News from Epilepsy Research UK

These are the findings from an Epilepsy Research UK (ERUK) grant, which was awarded to Dr Rachel Charlton, at the University of Bath, in 2014. Background For women with epilepsy pregnancy requires very careful planning, because exposure to some anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) in the womb, valproate in particular, has been linked to an increased chance of birth defects, behavioural problems read more

ERUK final report: A new technique to improve the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy

Posted 26 Jul 2016 in News from Epilepsy Research UK

Background Electroencephalography (EEG) is widely used in the diagnosis of epilepsy, but it relies on a person having a seizure whilst being monitored. This can lead to delays in diagnosis and treatment, unnecessary anxiety and reduced quality of life. To try and address this problem, Professor John Terry, at the University of Exeter, has been working alongside neurologists in London to read more

British 10K – Congratulations Team ERUK!

Posted 13 Jul 2016 in News from Epilepsy Research UK

The British 10K London Run took place on Sunday 10th July 2016 and what an incredible day for Epilepsy Research UK. The day began early, but the start line didn’t stay empty for long! Thousands of runners were soon lining up to run the streets of London, including several hundred who were flying the flag for Epilepsy Research UK. We were thrilled to read more

Bursary Opportunity for epilepsy researchers in the UK and Marseille

Posted 24 May 2016 in News from Epilepsy Research UK

Thanks to generous funding from its Vice-President, Mr Paul Newman, Epilepsy Research UK has launched a new initiative to build collaborations between epilepsy researchers in the UK and in Marseille, France. We are inviting applications for a bursary of up to £5,000, to support accommodation, travel and subsistence costs for a short research visit to Marseille (for UK applicants), or to the UK (for Marseille applicants). The read more

Investigating a new model of genetic epilepsy

Posted 19 May 2016 in News from Epilepsy Research UK

Grant Announcements 2016: “Individuals who carry mutations in genes that encode receptors activated by the excitatory neurotransmitter, glutamate, can suffer from a variety of disorders, many of which are associated with epilepsy. While our previous research has focused on studying glutamate receptors and their role in neuronal communication, the project funded by ERUK allows us to extend our work to a pre-clinical model that is a direct correlate of epileptic encephalopathy.” Professor David Wyllie

A new approach to blocking seizure networks in temporal lobe epilepsy

Posted 19 May 2016 in News from Epilepsy Research UK

Grant Announcements 2016: “Forward-thinking strategies for the most difficult-to-treat types of epilepsy are desperately needed. I will test whether controlling the activity of entire seizure-generating networks, as opposed to just the seizure foci, can be a more effective treatment to block seizures. To do so, I will use the technology of optogenetics, which has the potential to be translated to the clinic in the coming years, but can also “shine a light” on novel cellular targets to efficiently block seizures for other forms of clinical interventions.” Alfredo Gonzalez-Sulser

The link between sleep problems in infants with epilepsy and social and cognitive development

Posted 19 May 2016 in News from Epilepsy Research UK

Grant Announcements 2016: “Our data will indicate whether offering a standard sleep assessment using sleep diaries or actigraphy for newly diagnosed infants would be a low-cost and effective way to avoid cascading consequences of early sleep problems on subsequent socio-cognitive development. Since sleep is a modifiable risk factor, sleep problems could be addressed if picked up early, which could reduce seizure incidence, lead to an increased quality of life of families and save costs.

We also aim to communicate the results of our study to caregivers and clinicians as quickly as possible in order to draw their attention onto the importance of sleep in early onset epilepsy.” Dr Manuela Pisch

Interim findings from ERUK fellowship: Cutting-edge techniques to explore brain cell activity in epilepsy

Posted 26 Apr 2016 in News from Epilepsy Research UK

Background Focal epilepsies that originate in a specific part of the brain cortex are often resistant to existing anti-epileptic drugs, and there is an urgent need for new treatment strategies. Previous experimental research into these focal epilepsies has largely focused on acute seizures that have been purposefully induced in isolated brain tissue where long-range connections between neurons have been severed. read more

Epilepsy Research UK helps to advance the field of tumour-associated epilepsy

Posted 29 Mar 2016 in News from Epilepsy Research UK

On 17 and 18 March 2016, Epilepsy Research UK hosted an expert international workshop, to identify key research priorities for the field of tumour-associated epilepsy. Their principal aim is to develop a white paper to UK Government asking for the necessary funds to address these priorities. The workshop, entitled ‘Tumour-associated epilepsy: bridging the translational gap’, took place at St Anne’s College, read more

Can changes in heart activity be a sign of epilepsy?

Posted 10 Mar 2016 in News from Epilepsy Research UK

New research in the Journal of Physiology has found that certain changes in heart activity, even in the absence of seizures, could be a sign of epilepsy. Background The autonomic nervous system, which controls bodily functions that we are usually unaware of such as heart rate and breathing, is thought to play an important role in sudden unexpected death in epilepsy read more

Children with Rolandic epilepsy are likely to benefit from anti-epileptic treatment

Posted 9 Mar 2016 in News from Epilepsy Research UK

According to a recent study, children with Rolandic epilepsy should receive treatment in order to reduce their risk of cognitive and behavioural problems. Background Rolandic epilepsy is the most common form of childhood focal epilepsy syndrome, accounting for 15-20% of epilepsies in people aged between 5 and 14 years. It is characterised by a pattern of brain activity in between read more

Help the development of a new, cutting-edge treatment for epilepsy

Posted 4 Mar 2016 in News from Epilepsy Research UK

From Newcastle University In honour of Purple Day 2016, you are invited to attend an informal public and patient engagement event on Thursday 24 March, between 09:00 and 13:00, in the Bamburgh Room, King’s Road Centre, King’s Road, Newcastle University. For more information, please click here. The purpose of the event is to involve you in the innovative CANDO (Controlling Abnormal Network Dynamics using read more

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