We believe that research holds the answer to controlling seizures – which is why we’ve invested more than £2 million of research funding in this area. When we asked our SHAPE NETWORK for their research priorities, 22% of people said preventing epilepsy and being seizure-free would be life-changing. Until that can happen, many people said that being able to monitor or predict seizures would greatly help improve their quality of life.
One project funded by Epilepsy Research UK trying to predict seizures and give back some control is led by Andrea Biondi under the supervision of Professor Mark Richardson. Their work is investigating if technology such as an EEG cap and smartwatch used by people with epilepsy in their own homes are reliable and feasible methods of forecasting when individuals are at the highest risk of having a seizure. The project has great potential to give people more control over their epilepsy, as Andrea will explain in his Research Blog later this month.
To move from predicting seizures to preventing them, we need to understand the biology behind how seizures are caused. This is the focus of Dr Alfredo Gonzales-Sulser, one of Epilepsy Research UK’s Emerging Leader Fellows. In his Research Blog, he explains how optogenetics – a technique using light to activate different brain cells – has become a fundamental tool in epilepsy research, and how he’s using it to look for ways to block seizures in temporal lobe epilepsy.
Being able to predict and prevent seizures would allow Katherine and tens of thousands of other people with epilepsy to live the life they want and deserve.
“Society should find it unacceptable that up to 30% of people with epilepsy continue to have their lives dominated by seizures,” Anne says. “Research into epilepsy, and Epilepsy Research UK in particular, gives us hope that our daughter Katherine may one day have a life without seizures.”
Follow the Research Blog during April to read blog posts from Anne, Andrea, and Alfredo, who will be sharing their perspectives on research into seizure control.