Ongoing studies, The Epilepsy Research Group

  1. Can the brain's glial cells be a point of attack for novel AED treatments? This is a major project in which, among other approaches, a mouse model is being used to investigate how epilepsy arises and evolves over time. The main question is how glia cells behave during the development and worsening of epilepsy, and whether these changes can be affected by various drugs such as AEDs, anti-inflammatory drugs, drugs that affect intracellular cell signalling etc.

    In extension to this study, we are now also investigating possible epigenetic changes taking place during epilept0genesis. This is done in collaboration with dr. Kaja K Selmer and her group in Department of Genetics, OUS. Studying possible mechanisms involved in epileptogenesis may open new treatment strategies to prevent epilepsy, i.e. after stroke og brain injuries.
  1. Is epilepsy a progressive disease? This is a long-term study that focuses on changes in the clinical, radiological and neuropsychological picture in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (Pro-TLE). Comprehensive investigations are conducted on patients with newly diagnosed temporal lobe epilepsy at various time points over a 10-year period.

    We are also performing a retrospective study (Retro-TLE) investigating MR changes over time before operation in patients with surgically verified hippocampal sclerosis.
  1. Long-term effects of AEDs. Patients starting treatment with the AEDs levetiracetam and lamotrigine will be followed prospectively for 2-years in terms of immunological, hormonal, and haematological adverse reactions, and possible changes in bone health. The data will be collected through interviews, questionnaires, blood tests, and bone density measurements. This project is supported with a 50 % PhD student from Østfold Hospital.

    As part of this project, also studies on the effect of AEDs on gene expression related to immune genes are under way in collaboration with NMBU (Norwegian University of Life Sciences) and a study on the effect of AEDs on markers for inflammation in humans with epilepsy is performed together with collaborators in OUS.
  1. Epilepsy and cardiology. It has become increasingly clear that several epilepsies are channelopathies, as are many cardiac arrhythmias, and are associated with many of the same channels and ions. The relationship between epilepsy and cardiac arrhythmias like the long QT syndrome (LQTS) is This is also of central importance for understanding sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). We are also studying the impact of several years of active epilepsy on cardiac function.

    An experimental study in mice experiencing status epilepticus to investigate possible deleterious effects on the heart using mouse MR, ecco-cor and ECG is also ongoing. This is done in collaboration with prof Ivar Sjåstad and his group in Institute for Experimental Medical Research, OUS – Ullevål.
  1. National registration of refractory status epilepticus. We are collating national experiences on how patients with this condition are treated in Norway and how this can be improved. As there are only a few such patients at each centre, joint exchange of experiences is essential. Collection of data commenced in 2015. A national reference group for SE has been established.
  1. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) in epilepsy. In this study patients with hard-to-treat epilepsy are treated with DBS using a blinded study design. The clinical work is now completed and the first results published.
  1. Traumatic brain injury and posttraumatic epilepsy. A project is planned to study the possible predictive value of different parameters, especially related to inflammation, measured immediately after traumatic brain injuries on the frequency of posttraumatic epilepsy.
 
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