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Epilepsy

The Epilepsy Research Group in Department of Neurology (ERGO) has been active for about 25 years.

Our research is currently focused on four main areas:

  • Epilepsy-Translational Research, lead by Kjell Heuser. Focuses on temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), and the main project concerns studying the role of the brain's glial cells in the development and exacerbation of epilepsy (epileptogenesis).
  • “Gender issues”, endocrinology and long-term effects of AEDs, lead by Sigrid Svalheim. An important area over many years, with many PhD theses. The current major focus is studying the long-term side-effects of AEDs on hormones, immunology, haematology and bone Health.
  • Epilepsy and cardiology / SUDEP (sudden unexpected death in epilepsy patients), lead by Dag Aurlien. A collaborative venture between OUH and Stavanger University Hospital (SUS).
  • Status epilepticus (SE). OUH has a large population of patients who has experienced SE, and epidemiological studies have recently been performed regarding underlying causes, treatment, outcome etc. We will now focus especially on possible predictors for outcome, and study in more detail treatment of the superrefractory cases.

In addition to these main research areas, ERGO also has interests in deep brain stimulation (DBS) in epilepsy, ketogenic diets for adults, and posttraumatic epilepsy.

Projects

  • Can the brain's glial cells be a point of attack for novel AED treatments? 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.
  • In extension to this study, we are now - in collaboration with OUH - also investigating possible epigenetic changes taking place during epilept0genesis.
  • Is epilepsy a progressive disease? A long-term study that focuses on changes in the clinical, radiological and neuropsychological picture in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (Pro-TLE).
  • Retro-TLE; a retrospective study investigating MR changes over time before operation in patients with surgically verified hippocampal sclerosis.
  • 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. 
  • As part of this project, studies on the effect of AEDs on gene expression related to immune genes are under way in collaboration with NMBU, and a study on the effect of AEDs on markers for inflammation in humans with epilepsy is performed together with OUH.
  • 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 studied. This relationship is also of central importance for understanding sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP).
  • An experimental study in mice experiencing status epilepticus, to investigate possible deleterious effects on the heart using mouse MR, ecco-cor and ECG.
  • National registration of refractory status epilepticus (SE). We are collating national experiences on how patients with this condition are treated in Norway, and how this can be improved. 
  • Deep brain stimulation (DBS) in epilepsy. Patients with hard-to-treat epilepsy are treated with DBS, using a blinded study design.
  • Traumatic brain injury and posttraumatic epilepsy. A study of the possible predictive value of different parameters, especially related to inflammation, measured immediately after traumatic brain injuries on the frequency of posttraumatic epilepsy.

Cooperation

This broad range of methods requires close collaboration with research groups in Norway and abroad.

National

  • Department of cardiology, OUH
  • National Centre for Epilepsy in Norway (SSE)
  • Stavanger University hospital
  • Department of Neurohabilitation, OUH
  • Østfold hospital, Kalnes
  • Institute for basic medical research, OUH, Professor Ivar Sjaastad
  • Department of Genetics, OUH, Dr. Kaja K. Selmer  
  • Glia cells research group (GLIALAB – Letten Center), UiO, Associate Professor Rune Enger
  • NMBU (Norwegian University of Life Sciences), Professors Erik Ropstad and Mona Aleksandersen

International

  • Institute of Cellular Neurosciences, Medical Faculty, University of Bonn, Germany (Professor C. Steinhäuser)
  • University of Innsbruck, Austria (Professor G. Luef)
  • Mid-Atlantic Epilepsy and Sleep Center, Bethesda, USA (Director, MD, PhD, Pavel Klein)

Resources

  • EU, Marie Curie programme, 1 PhD student
  • Health and rehab, 1 PhD student
  • South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority, 1 PhD student
  • Østfold hospital, 1 PhD student, 50%
Published Dec. 5, 2018 11:38 AM - Last modified June 12, 2020 3:40 PM