CURE Epilepsy Award

Manipulating Sleep-Wake Networks to Treat Epilepsy

Nigel Pedersen, MD, Epileptologist
Emory Epilepsy Center, Emory University

Evidence for the well-recognized relationship between sleep and seizures includes seizures occurring at a specific time in relation to sleep, increased seizures with sleep-deprivation, and critically, the increased risk of dying from seizures during sleep. However, the mechanism of the interaction between sleep and seizures is unknown. In this study, Dr. Pedersen and his team will first determine the relationship between sleep and seizure severity in a mouse model of medial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE). Next, the team will use novel techniques to manipulate specific brain regions and cell types to gain insights into the impact of sleep changes and the effect of manipulation of these key brain circuits on seizures. This clinically-informed research lays the groundwork for potentially transformative treatments for epilepsy.

Update March 2021: Moving forward Dr. Pedersen’s study is being funded by NINDS. The CURE Epilepsy-related funds will be used for a new grant.