Seizures and epilepsy can have a profound impact on a person’s quality of life. Up till now, most research on quality of life in epilepsy has been concerned with the quality of life of people with already established epilepsy. As a result, we do not have a clear understanding of what factors contribute to changes in quality of life, both good and bad, that occur from the point of diagnosis of epilepsy onwards.

Professor Ann Jacoby of the University of Liverpool has been awarded £57,554 over three years to look at “Quality of life trajectories for new-onset epilepsy“. She and her colleagues will look at how quality of life develops after the onset of epilepsy, and how it is affected by factors such as

  • the number of seizures the patient has, and how successful their treatment is;
  • how having seizures affects the patient’s social interactions and psychological state; and
  • any side effects produced by prescribed anti-epileptic drugs.

The study will follow the same set of patients as the recent SANAD study, the largest randomised trial ever conducted in epilepsy, which included 2,400 patients. It will follow all patients for at least four years, collecting information on their health, everyday functioning and quality of life, via postal questionnaires. The aim is to identify how best to support people, both medically and socially, when they are first diagnosed with epilepsy.

This is one of eight grants made by the Epilepsy Research Foundation (now Epilepsy Research UK) in 2006. Read about the other grants from 2006 here