Epilepsy Research: a window into dysfunction of the human brain

Epilepsy is a common brain disorder in which there is a tendency to have repeated seizures. Roughly 40,000 people in Ireland have epilepsy. Globally, 50 million people live with epilepsy. For people living with epilepsy the condition has a significant impact on their quality of life. The condition also impacts upon parents, siblings and caregivers of people living with epilepsy.

Animal models of epilepsy have generated a great deal of knowledge related to the neurobiological basis of epilepsy. However, fundamental neuroscience issues pertaining to epilepsy remain. The best alternative to animal model would be to conduct scientific studies in a complete homologous ‘model’ i.e. human brain tissue or cells. Increasingly neuroscientists are taking the opportunity to study human material obtained from patients living with epilepsy. Examples of these approach are as follows. Live human brain tissue obtained from brain surgery for the treatment of epilepsy can be taken to the laboratory to study how brain cells generate electrical activity. Alternatively, blood samples can be obtained from patients and using stem cell technology human brain cells can be derived for functional or genetic studies.

Researchers from FutureNeuro (Dr Susan Byrne) and Trinity College Dublin (Prof. Mark Cunningham) will lead a public discussion highlighting approaches using human samples and how they can contribute to diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy. The clinical perspective on these approaches will be provided by a neurologist (Dr Peter Widdess-Walsh) who treats patients living with epilepsy. Finally, we will hear the thoughts and experiences from a patient perspective (Aoife Munnelly). Each speaker will talk for 15 minutes with 45-60 minutes for a panel discussion with the audience.

Target audience: Members of the general public interested in the latest epilepsy research, particularly studies using human material research and research exploring new treatments and methods of diagnosis for epilepsy.

Contact for enquiries: Professor Mark Cunningham (mark.cunningham@tcd.ie)

Register for tickets here.

  • Date: 
  • Time: 
  • Where: Paccar Theatre
  • Price: FREE

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