Patients who develop unprovoked seizures later in life are at increased risk of subsequent stroke, but this relationship is not well understood. This study will investigate vascular health of the brain and heart in patients with late onset seizures, improving our understanding of the relationship between vascular health and epilepsy. The results will guide future trials in order to improve care and long-term outcomes for these patients.
Dr Josephine Mayer
Due to the ageing population, the number of people experiencing late onset seizures and epilepsy (known as LOUSE) is increasing. People who experience unprovoked seizures in adulthood are at increased risk of stroke, and it is not known whether this increased risk is due to untreated risk factors such as diabetes or high blood pressure; or whether there is impairment of blood vessel function in the brain, irrespective of these. Presenting with a seizure in adulthood could be an important point in the patient’s journey to initiate health assessment and treatment to reduce the future risk of adverse cerebrovascular (stroke) or cardiovascular (heart attack) events.
The primary aim of this project is to assess the heart and brain blood vessel (cardio-/cerebro- vascular) health in patients with LOUSE. In this project Dr Mayer will undertake the following:
1) Assess blood vessel (vascular) health in people with LOUSE at diagnosis compared to healthy people and people with high blood pressure (a common risk factor for poor vascular health)
2) Assess vascular health over time, at 6 and 12 months, in patients with LOUSE and compare to patients
with high blood pressure who have had their vascular risk factors managed
3) Establish a registry of patients with LOUSE to evaluate markers of poor vascular health, MRI brain
imaging data, and review the rate of stroke and heart disease at 12 months.
This will provide valuable insight into vascular health in patients with LOUSE and inform understanding of the relationship between cardiovascular risk factors and LOUSE. Results will inform clinical practice and future research into this important clinical area.