June 17, 2020

Epilepsy Research News: June 2020

This month’s epilepsy research news includes a study examining the efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy that is designed specifically to treat individuals with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES).

In addition, recent research documents the ability of a wearable device called an accelerometer to assess the risk of life-threatening complications associated with seizures, such as Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP). In the same spirit of technological advances, a recently published study discusses assessment of predictive models and underlying factors to assist seizure-free patients and their clinicians in safely withdrawing from antiepileptic drugs (AEDs).

Finally, we spotlight a study suggesting that autism and epilepsy may share neurodevelopmental origins. This work was co-led by Dr. Jamie Capal, who presented a CURE webinar on this work, which you can watch here.

Research News

  • Promising Treatment for PNES: PNES are involuntary episodes that look and feel similar to epileptic seizures but have psychological, not neurological, causes. Researchers have found that adding PNES-specific cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to standardized medical care for patients who suffer from these debilitating episodes results in longer periods of seizure freedom and significantly improved quality of life. Learn More
  • Wearable Devices and SUDEP Risk Assessment: An accelerometer (ACC) is a wearable device that measures motion during a convulsive seizure. This study now shows that the “silence” recorded by ACCs after a seizure is a reliable indicator of “post-ictal immobility” (PI) which is the absence of motion following a seizure. PI has been associated with potentially life-threatening complications, including SUDEP. Learn More
  • Antiepileptic Drug (AED) Withdrawal: People with epilepsy who have been seizure-free for 1-2 years and stop taking their AEDs face a risk of recurrent seizures, the likelihood of which is difficult to determine. The authors of this study investigated five risk prediction models and predictive variables to assist in the development of personalized AED withdrawal plans. Learn More
  • Epilepsy and Autism: A study shows that early behavioral signs may predict the development of epilepsy in children with autism, suggesting the two disorders may share common origins. Nevertheless, the authors caution that there are not enough data for clinicians to start using these behavioral indicators as a screening tool. Learn More

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