Grant round winners 2007

24 April 2007

It’s known that seizures damage the brain, especially if prolonged. That’s why status epilepticus (a seizure that doesn’t self-terminate, lasting at least 10 continuous minutes) is a medical emergency, requiring immediate treatment.

One process that occurs shortly after status epilepticus is inflammation of the brain. Inflammation is the body’s response to injury, where blood flow to the affected area is increased to allow the healing process to begin. Inflammation has been shown to be harmful in other brain conditions such as stroke.

Rod Scott and Mark Lythgoe at the Neurosciences and Radiology & Physics Units, Institute of Child Health (part of University College London), will investigate whether preventing inflammation after status epilepticus prevents the development of epilepsy. They have been awarded £79,937 over two years to investigate “The effect of status epilepticus-induced neuroinflammation on brain injury and epileptogenesis“.

They will use a state-of-the-art MRI scanner (very high strength, the latest version in the UK) and special tracer molecules to investigate the development of inflammation after status epilepticus. They’ll monitor the epilepsy that develops using wireless video EEG. They’ll also see whether giving anti-inflammatory drugs affects inflammation after status epilepticus, and whether these drugs affect whether epilepsy is developed in consequence and how severe it is.

It’s hoped that understanding how status epilepticus damages the brain may lead to new treatments that prevent the subsequent development of epilepsy.

This is one of five grants made by the Epilepsy Research Foundation (now Epilepsy Research UK) in 2007. Read about the other grants from 2007 here