June 8, 2023

Creighton Husband-Wife Duo Studying Fatal Complications of Epilepsy

Article published by WOWT
Featuring the work of CURE Epilepsy grantees Dr. Kristina Simeone and Dr. Timothy Simeone


A husband-wife science duo is putting their brains together to study other brains.

Their project at the Creighton University School of Medicine is investigating a fatal complication of epilepsy.

It’s called Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy or SUDEP. Those with severe, uncontrolled seizures have a one in 150 chance of dying from this complication. It’s something that hits home for the couple.

“I do this work because I have a friend who has a daughter who is at high risk for SUDEP, and ten years ago when I met her,” said Dr. Kristina Simeone, lead investigator of the lab. “She really inspired me to try to figure out ways she could help keep her daughter alive.”

Powered by a $1.5 million NIH grant and a team of undergraduates, graduate students, and medical students, the study aims to make strides in an area that’s long been understudied.

“About 15 years ago, we started to really start to fully understand. But before that, not much is known about it. And still, not much is known about it,” she said.

What they’ve hypothesized is SUDEP patients can experience a lack of oxygen because of their severe seizures. Some begin breathing normally, but not all.

To find out what’s actually causing that scientists are studying the complication in mice.

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