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There is a complex interplay between seizures, cognition, memory and mental health.

People with epilepsy are at increased risk of developing depression and associated anxiety disorders.  For those experiencing cognitive and behavioural problems, in most cases, they are caused by co-occurring neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Despite the strong link, we know little about the common underlying causes and how to best treat seizures in autistic people. Epilepsy in autistic people is also more likely to be resistant to standard treatments, and it is one of the leading causes of early death among this group.

By increasing our knowledge of the link between epilepsy and neurodevelopmental conditions, and by improving our understanding of the overlap between these disorders, we’ll be able to develop treatments and strategies to prevent, treat and avoid the wider consequences of epilepsy.

Our research priorities

  • Identify mechanisms (processes and interactions) by which the brain becomes susceptible to seizures at different life stages (childhood/adolescence/adult/older age).
  • Harness recent advances in genomics, mechanistic studies, imaging and clinical studies.
  • Identify how and by what mechanisms epilepsy and its treatment impact on learning, cognitive development and ability during childhood.
  • Identify how and by what mechanisms epilepsy and its treatment impact cognitive ability in adult life.
  • Identify how and by what mechanisms epilepsy and its treatment impactmental health in children and adults.

Neurodevelopment theme leads

Clinical Co-Lead: Professor Sameer Zuberi, University of Glasgow
Basic Science Co-Lead: Professor Juan Burrone, King’s College London
Early Career Lead: Dr Felix Chan, Aston University

The Neurodevelopment theme leads will be supported by a task force of preeminent UK scientists and clinicians. The team is driving a research programme to feed into an overall roadmap for research into epilepsy in order to secure large-scale investment.

Neurodevelopment on The Hub

Join The Hub – the online discussion portal for researchers working in the field of epilepsy and associated conditions – to find and share networking and collaboration opportunities, as well as workshops and events. If you would like to be involved in the task force group for the programme, you can find more information on The Hub here.