Research strategy for childhood epilepsy
Paediatric epilepsy research is carried out through a joint unit which works across UCL-Institute of Child Health, Great Ormond Street Hospital and Young Epilepsy.
The overriding goal of epilepsy research within the unit is to enable a better long outcome and to reduce the overall burden for children with epilepsy. The unit – which encompasses the UCL-Institute of Child Health, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, Young Epilepsy, and North London Epilepsy Network - is in a unique position of incorporating review of children with a range of severity from newly diagnosed to complex epilepsy.
Further collaboration across UCL allows continuation of work into adulthood, allowing study across the whole age range. The educational and behavioural expertise within Young Epilepsy allows interventional study beyond medical treatment.
Goal 1: To gain a better understanding of underlying mechanisms and aetiologies responsible for seizures.
This will be achieved by
- Cohort epidemiological studies to determine incidence, prevalence and outcome
- Collaborative and in-house studies to determine the molecular basis to the epilepsies, using population and family studies with the aim of further insights into new treatments
- Enhanced structural studies using neuroimaging to increase detection of structural correlates of the epilepsies
- Correlative studies in neurophysiology to enhance detection of origin
- Pathological examination of tissue from surgical specimens to enhance our understanding of structural correlates and related epileptogenesis
Goal 2: To widen our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of neurodevelopmental and behavioural compromise in childhood epilepsy by including:
- The development of experimental animal studies to examine the effects of epileptiform discharges on development
- Cohort studies to evaluate prevalence, natural history and outcome of comorbidities in childhood epilepsy
- Correlative neurophysiology/neuropsychology studies
- Collaborative outcome studies across the age range
Goal 3: To determine the benefits of early interventions in improving long term outcome in childhood epilepsy
- Short and long term evaluation of outcome following early epilepsy surgery
- Evaluation of new medical treatments
- Evaluation of educational intervention
Goal 4: To reduce the overall burden of epilepsy in childhood to the individual, family and agencies involved through
- Interventional behaviour programmes
Goal 5: To develop a milieu of senior researchers working both together and independently towards overriding goals of unit, so enhancing training for academia, promoting a collegiate environment for junior staff and moving forward academic careers.
- Development of training fellowships
- Projects involve working towards higher degrees with encouragement for independent working thereafter
- Joint working between UCL-ICH and Young Epilepsy
- Enhancing research across all areas of expertise