May 23, 2019

A New Frontier for Epilepsy Brain Imaging

Improved epilepsy diagnosis and treatment will soon be more accessible to many of the 200,000 Australians who live with this common and debilitating condition.

Funded by the Medical Research Future Fund’s Frontiers initiative, the world-leading project at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health has received $1 million to further develop magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to reach a wider number of people who until now, have not had access to the latest specialized care.

The Precision Medicine for Epilepsy project led by Professor Jackson, a neurologist, will use advanced neuroimaging with artificial-intelligence prediction to transform management of epilepsy, reducing clinical uncertainty and leading to earlier decisions and better selection of effective treatments.

“Advancing care for people living with epilepsy will take a team effort. I’m delighted to be bringing together brain imaging, neuroscientists, clinicians, advocacy groups and government to provide better health outcomes for people who experience epilepsy,” says Professor Jackson.

Immediate outcomes and benefits:

  • For the first time, a robust and widely supported plan will enable many more Australians to access high-quality and novel advanced brain imaging that until now, has been available to just a few. Imaging data and other tests across the spectrum of epilepsies will be collected in clinical trial settings.
  • An education push will ensure that clinicians and community support groups will be made aware of the new possibilities for access to advanced imaging, genetics and neuropsychological testing.
  • An expanded, coordinated epilepsy patient recruitment network for neuroimaging will be coordinated by the Florey’s imaging team and will leverage the infrastructure of the National Imaging Facility.

It is anticipated that the project will eventually:

  • Provide accurate diagnostic and prognostic tools enabling rapid, optimized targeted treatment for individual patients
  • Remove the uncertainty that many patients currently experience, by enabling accurate provision of early and accurate advice regarding prognosis and treatment options
  • Prevent delays and ineffective treatment of epilepsy, which currently is associated with repeated brain-damaging seizures, cognitive decline, and excess epilepsy-related deaths
  • Prevent unnecessary side-effects from use of ineffective medications and inadequate brain surgeries
  • Provide new targets for treatment of treatment-resistant epilepsies.

Related News