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This article was published in September 2012. The information may be out of date. Please check our epilepsy information or our site A-Z.

Improving research: Epilepsy Action research grants

24 Sep 2012

Epilepsy Action research grants

Epilepsy Action funds non-laboratory research into the condition – and is pleased to announce the research awards it made in 2012

PhD studentship – £75,000
Assessing seizure susceptibility using psychophysical tests
Supervised by Dr Andrew Trevelyan
Newcastle University

Pen and questionnaireDr Andrew Trevelyan says: “Being able to predict when a seizure will happen is a major goal for epilepsy research. Our work aims to develop a tool that would allow a new way of monitoring the condition. It will allow people to take a more active role managing their epilepsy. Monitoring may also benefit the medical management of seizures by providing information to inform treatment.

“Ultimately, our tool will empower people with epilepsy – allowing them to adapt their medication or lifestyle on a day-to-day or even hour-to-hour basis.’’

This studentship is the fifth PhD that Epilepsy Action has funded. Research administration officer, Margaret Rawnsley, says: “Epilepsy Action firmly believes that this kind of funding is vital to supporting and developing the epilepsy researchers of the future.”

Research project grant – £55,560
Using conversational analysis in the seizure clinic: An intervention study
Dr Markus Reuber
University of Sheffield

Dr Markus Reuber says: “Approximately a quarter of patients who experience blackouts are initially misdiagnosed. This can lead to inappropriate treatments and ongoing distress. Neurologists can and should be trained to improve their history-taking skills. Our research techniques show that how a person with epilepsy describes their experience can help neurologists make a more accurate diagnosis.
“If our research can inform routine clinical practice, more patients will receive the most appropriate treatment sooner. Patients may also be more satisfied after their encounter with a doctor. More of their questions may have been answered during the appointment.”

Epilepsy Action has already funded two of Dr Reuber’s earlier studies into conversational analysis. Margaret Rawnsley says: “It is great to see the findings from these studies informing the training of doctors. Improved communication between people with epilepsy and their doctors is vital for effective treatment and care. Greater understanding will lead to a win:win situation!’’

Research project grant – £28,732
Understanding the challenges and impact of parenting with epilepsy: A focus on mothers
Dr Amanda Wood
University of Birmingham

Dr Amanda Wood, Dr Jacqueline Blissett and Dr Michael Larkin say: “We are delighted to receive the support of Epilepsy Action for our research and we appreciate the opportunity to work with its many supporters. Our study aims to better understand the experience of parenting in women with epilepsy. We hope to learn about how different women with epilepsy balance their own health needs with those of their young child. This includes what challenges they faced and which strategies they found helpful. We will be using one-to-one and group interviews. The information gathered will be used to increase awareness among healthcare providers and improve support for families.’’

Nicole Crosby-McKenna is Epilepsy Action’s policy and campaign officer (welfare and women). She says: “This study is the first to look at the impact of epilepsy on a mother’s stress, wellbeing and parenting style. Some people with epilepsy are concerned that their parenting is affected by their epilepsy or the side-effects of their anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs). The results of this survey will enable health professionals to better understand the potential impact of epilepsy on mothers.”

Epilepsy Action is delighted to be supporting such excellent studies. All grant applications are reviewed by people with epilepsy, to make sure that the research funded by the organisation is both important and relevant.

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