Epilepsy Research UK is pleased to be joining our #TeamBrain partners to mark Brain Tumour Awareness Month. The national campaign runs throughout March to raise awareness of the causes and effects of brain tumours and highlight the need for increased research investment.

Approximately 16,000 people are diagnosed with a brain tumour in the UK every year and there are an estimated 60,000 living with a brain tumour. Brain Tumour Awareness Month was launched in 2004 by a group of charities that went on to become founding members of Brain Tumour Research.

Brain tumours and epilepsy

Seizures can sometimes be the first sign of a brain tumour as the cells around the tumour may have developed abnormally,or they may be due to an imbalance of chemicals in the brain caused by the tumour. Both of these can interfere with the normal electrical activity in the brain and are difficult to treat and debilitating for the person affected.

The most effective treatment for brain tumours involves surgery to remove the tumour as well as the area responsible for seizures. However, current approaches to mapping the area that requires removal have had varying success and are mostly invasive.

Epilepsy Research UK is funding a project led by trainee neurosurgeon Ashan Jayasekera, who is investigating an alternative non-invasive scanning technique to accurately map the areas responsible for seizures so that they can be removed. This technique involves a molecule that excites brain cells called glutamate.  Mr Jayasekera hopes to confirm that high levels of this molecule can highlight the areas of the brain that generates seizures.

According to Mr Jayasekera, this work will allow surgeons to specifically and safely map the ‘unhealthy’ seizure generating regions of the brain and will enable them to avoid the healthy parts. This would not only improve seizure control for patients post operatively, but also reduce the risk of injuring the healthy brain tissue during surgery.

Would you like to find out more about this vital work? Later this month, Ashan Jayasekera will be talking more about his project and what it means for patients with epilepsy and brain tumours in a Research Blog special for Brain Tumour Awareness Month.

Support neuro research with the first-ever #Brainathlon…

You can support vital research like Ashan Jayasekera’s project by taking part in our first-ever #Brainathlon – a new virtual event brought to you by leading neuro research charities Epilepsy Research UK, Brain Research UK and Brain Tumour Research. Run 15 miles, walk 10 miles and climb 1.2 miles (or 2.500 stairs) this April to complete the #Brainathlon challenge.

Find out how it works and how you can get involved here.