CURE Announces New Research Program in Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP)
Every year, it is estimated that up to 50,000 deaths occur in the United States from seizure-related causes including accidental deaths and Sudden Unexplained Death from Epilepsy (SUDEP). The mortality rate among people with epilepsy is two to three times higher than the general population and the risk of sudden death is twenty-four times greater. There is an urgent need for more research to determine underlying mechanisms and causes of epilepsy (seizure disorders) and SUDEP so that the risk may be minimized and eventually eliminated.
In its decade-long history, CURE has funded multiple researchers studying SUDEP. However, 2009 marks the start of the first SUDEP targeted research program. This program will award seed grants to researchers submitting innovative proposals providing new directions for this critically needed research.
This award is being established and named to honor the memory of Christopher Donalty (October 27, 1980–February 21, 2002) and Kyle Coggins (December 15, 1981–May 13, 2003), who died from SUDEP.
Christopher’s mother and CURE Board member Jeanne Donalty was featured in the July 4, 2008 Science magazine article, “When Death Strikes Without Warning,” where she sheds essential light on the devastating effects of SUDEP and the need for increased awareness. The article discusses the historical lack of SUDEP research, and how grieving families like the Donaltys have helped drive a recent increase in both discussion and study of the problem.