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Below are the most recent news stories about epilepsy from Epilepsy Research UK and from around the world. You can choose different categories from the side bar on the left (for details of grants made prior to 2012, please visit our research portfolio). You can also catch up with Epilepsy Research UK's fundraising and research news in our supporter newsletters.

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Jeremy Hunt’s response to valproate pregnancy risks

Posted 18 Oct 2017 in Anti-epileptic drugs / Living with epilepsy

In the lead-up to the EMA hearing on valproate, Clare Pelham, Chief Executive of Epilepsy Society, wrote to Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health. She asked him to introduce mandatory annual reviews for women who take valproate-related drugs, and who could potentially become pregnant, so that they are fully informed of the risks the drugs pose to unborn babies. The read more

Priority setting in epilepsy

Posted 17 Oct 2017 in Living with epilepsy

The importance of public and patient involvement in identifying health research priorities is now more widely recognised, and research funding bodies actively seek the input of people affected by different medical conditions as equal partners. Here, we would like to update you on the work that has been done in the epilepsy field. The process In 2009-2010 a ‘master list’ read more

The link between CLOCK and epilepsy

Posted 16 Oct 2017 in Brain science; genetics

A Lack of a protein called ‘CLOCK’, which (unsurprisingly) helps to set our body clock, may play a role in some types of epilepsy. Within our cells are microscopic ‘clocks’ that influence a number of factors, e.g. hunger and sleepiness (see image below). They can also detect when the days are getting longer or shorter and generate seasonal changes. CLOCK read more

EMA public hearing about valproate in pregnancy

Posted 26 Sep 2017 in Living with epilepsy

26 September 2017 The European Medicines Agency (EMA) will today hold a public hearing about the risks of valproate and related drugs during pregnancy. The background to and aims of the hearing are outlined here (document downloaded from the EMA website), and you can follow the event live from 12:45 here (click ‘Public hearing’ tab). Seizure control during pregnancy is very important; however, babies read more

Exciting data about seizure spread

Posted 20 Sep 2017 in Brain science; genetics

New findings from the Universities of Twente (in the Netherlands) and Chicago have shown that even focal seizures can have ‘long-distance’ effects. Click here for a summary of the research, written by medicalexpress.com. The work is published in the scientific journal, PNAS. ERUK Fellow, Dr Rob Wykes, at University College London, is looking at how brain cells behave before, during read more

Common parasite linked to epilepsy and other brain disorders

Posted 15 Sep 2017 in Brain science; genetics

Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) is a very common parasite that is often associated with cats and is thought to cause very few symptoms and no serious effects in humans. However, research led by the University of Chicago has now shown that it might, in fact, play a role in the development of epilepsy and other brain disorders. The findings are published read more

Important findings for childhood absence epilepsy

Posted 14 Sep 2017 in Epilepsy in children

An experimental study of childhood absence epilepsy (CAE) suggests that brain activity is disturbed in between seizures (not just during them), and that this activity can continue despite therapy. This could potentially explain why some children with CAE experience problems with cognition (e.g. attention deficit), even though they are being successfully treated. The findings are published in the Journal of Physiology. read more

Temporal lobe epilepsy: a step closer to more effective treatments

Posted 13 Sep 2017 in Brain science; genetics

“I’m still uncontrolled. It completely changes your life. I now can no longer work and have issues getting out because of the unpredictability.” ERUK supporter experience of living with uncontrolled epilepsy. Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is the most common form of epilepsy in adults, and it is often associated with scarring of an important memory structure called the hippocampus. This read more

Birmingham collaboration is improving childhood epilepsy care

Posted 11 Sep 2017 in News from Epilepsy Research UK

This news release describes a promising research collaboration between Aston University and Birmingham Children’s Hospital, which is making great strides for childhood epilepsy. Epilepsy Research UK Fellow, Dr Sukhvir Wright, is a key member of this team, and she has recently been interviewed about their work by Free Radio. The interview will be aired later this week; please check our read more

Heat as a seizure trigger

Posted 11 Sep 2017 in Epilepsy in children

The most common seizure trigger for children aged between 5 months and 6 years is fever. It is suspected that increased body temperature plays an important role in this, but infection and inflammation themselves could also be involved. A recent study, published in the journal Epilepsy Research, shows that in a genetic (rodent) model of Dravet syndrome, elevated body temperature alone, read more

Autoimmunity: a small but significant and treatable cause of epilepsy

Posted 7 Sep 2017 in News from Epilepsy Research UK

What is autoimmune epilepsy? The immune system is designed to protect the body from attack from outside agents such as bacteria and viruses. However, sometimes things go wrong and autoimmune disease results. In autoimmune disease, “over-excited” specialised immune cells and proteins (including antibodies), whose usual role is to defend the body against infection, instead attack the body itself. It is read more

Autoimmune epilepsy: Current research in Oxford

Posted 7 Sep 2017 in News from Epilepsy Research UK

Click here to read about autoimmune epilepsy. A number of antibodies against different cell proteins have been detected in people with epilepsy but that does not automatically mean that these antibodies cause epilepsy. There are important questions to ask: Can the antibodies cause seizures themselves or are there other factors involved? Is the appearance of antibodies in the patient’s blood read more

Using maths to detect the source of seizures

Posted 25 Aug 2017 in Brain science; genetics

Researchers in Exeter are using mathematics to identify the areas of the brain that contribute most to epileptic seizures. Their approach could significantly improve the success rate of epilepsy surgery. This work is published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology. A bit of background People who are about to have epilepsy surgery often require an invasive procedure called an intracranial EEG read more

Thank you Simon Osborn

Posted 16 Aug 2017 in News from Epilepsy Research UK

Simon Osborn is a veteran Epilepsy Research UK fundraiser. Simon started fundraising for the charity due to a friend’s child having epilepsy and then continued after he was diagnosed with epilepsy himself. This year Simon walked the whole length of the Thames. It was a tremendous effort and when I met Simon in Hammersmith towards the end of his walk read more

Study supports genetic testing for newborns with epilepsy

Research at the University of Michigan suggests that most cases of newborn epilepsy have an identifiable genetic cause and that genetic testing for all newborns with epilepsy should be considered. Knowing the genetic cause of epilepsy not only guides treatment (offering the chance of a better prognosis), it gives parents and families peace of mind. It also means that parents read more

Untangling the genetics of severe childhood epilepsy

Posted 3 Aug 2017 in News from Epilepsy Research UK

“This (ERUK) grant has given us the opportunity to directly help families. Many of the parents who participated in this study desperately wanted to know why their child had severe epilepsy. It has been great to give answers to so many families. This has made real differences in the management of some of the children. At the same time, we’ve learnt a read more

Study supports genetic testing for childhood epilepsy

A brand new review, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, supports the routine use of genetic testing for early-onset epilepsy. If applied across the board, this could make diagnosis and treatment a lot more effective, and provide important information for family planning. The online site drugtargetreview.com has shared a summary of the work, which you can click here to read. Do return for read more

Can we predict a person’s response to antiepileptic drug treatment?

Posted 28 Jul 2017 in News from Epilepsy Research UK

The ability to predict who will respond to antiepileptic drug (AED) treatment is something that epilepsy researchers are striving for. Not only would it reduce long, unfruitful trials of AEDs, it would generally make epilepsy care much more efficient. Professor Mark Richardson and colleagues, at King’s College London, have used a novel combination of functional MRI (fMRI) and EEG to read more

Tree planted in memory of Chris Wilson

Posted 24 Jul 2017 in News from Epilepsy Research UK

‘The Visitor‘, in Lancashire, has posted a story about Chris Wilson, who sadly died a year ago as a result of an epileptic seizure. We are sharing the article below as it would have been Chris’s birthday today. We would also like to thank Chris’s family and friends for the money they have raised for epilepsy research in his memory. Above: read more

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