23 November 2010

Wellcome Trust Grant:Jason Berwick (PI), Paul Overton, Aneurin Kennerley & Peter Redgrave

The Wellcome Trust has awarded a grant to Jason Berwick (PI), Paul Overton, Aneurin Kennerley & Peter Regrave.

The grant is entitled 'Understanding epilepsy in the active brain' and is an international collaboration with Cornell Weill Medical College in New York principally with a world leading Neurosurgeon Prof Theodore Schwartz. The aim is to understand the signal sources of epilepsy in the active brain in an animal model with a view to developing new surgical strategies to treat epilepsy in humans. The funding represents £417K in direct costs, and £639K when fec is applied. Full details are below.

Title ' Understanding epilepsy in the active brain'
PI : Dr Jason Berwick
CO-I : Dr Paul Overton, Dr Aneurin Kennerley, Prof Theodore Schwartz, Dr Mingrui Zhao, Dr Hongtao Ma.
Official collaborator : Prof Peter Redgrave.
Duration : 36 Months

Lay Summary: Epilepsy is the most common neurological condition in the UK, affecting 1 – 2 % of the population. Epilepsies often involve only a small area of the brain - the epileptic focus – and the abnormal activity can propagate out from there. Although surgery is often curative in epilepsy, effective intervention relies on the correct identification of the location of the epileptic focus. Current pre-operative techniques are of limited use in this regard, but the new generation of imaging techniques based on changes in blood perfusion of active areas offer great promise. However, we currently have very little understanding of how epilepsy affects the relationship between brain activity and perfusion. Our research will use state of the art techniques in an animal model of epilepsy to characterise, define and measure the relationship between activity and perfusion in the epileptic state. We will also assess whether any long term changes in this relationship persist after epileptic activity, and whether antiepileptic medication can return the relationship to normal. The research we propose will develop the use of imaging techniques as a tool for pre-surgical localization of epileptic foci in epilepsy and ultimately improve outcomes for surgical interventions on human epilepsy patients.