December 14, 2023

University of Iowa Study Uncovers Key Findings in Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP)

Article published by Corridor Business Journal

Recent findings from a study have brought scientists one step closer to understanding SUDEP, a rare but fatal complication of epilepsy. The exact cause of SUDEP is unknown, but studies point to prolonged apnea that persists following a seizure as a major culprit. Neuroscientists found that activating a particular area of the brain called the amygdala induces prolonged loss of breathing that persists even after a seizure has ended. “This is the first study to identify a site in the brain that can cause persistent apnea after the seizure ends,” said Brian Dlouhy, University of Iowa Associate Professor of Neurosurgery and Pediatrics, and senior author on the new study. “These new findings are a critical step in developing our understanding of what causes SUDEP and identifying those individuals at highest risk and ways to prevent SUDEP,” said Vicky Whittemore, Program Director at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health, which contributed funding for the study.

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