It can be easy to forget that epilepsy is a life-threatening condition. I mean, look at the movie Garden State. There, it’s all chuckles and punch lines—the dorky helmet that cuter-than-cute Natalie Portman has to wear to make her less of an insurance risk at her workplace.
The truth, of course, is less glamorous than the Hollywood version. While epilepsy alone can lead to seizure-related injuries ranging from bumps and bruises to a bitten tongue, and even death, cases of epilepsy are often associated with a variety of other health conditions that often contribute to morbidity and mortality. And with that in mind, the Epilepsy Foundation is soliciting applications for its Targeted Research Initiative for Morbidity and Mortality program.
It’s an annual program focusing on these co-morbidities: conditions that are often present in people with epilepsy, including but not limited to diabetes, gastrointestinal bleeding, chronic lung disease, congenital cardiac abnormalities, heart failure, and pneumonia. It also seeks to make associations between some of these co-morbidities in epilepsy and its outcomes, including quality of life, seizure remission, stigma, and others. The program offers one-year grants of up to $50,000.
The mortality portion of the program targets the potentially preventable causes of death for people with epilepsy, which include accidents, suicide, and what’s called SUDEP: sudden unexpected death in epilepsy. Folks interested in applying would do well to look at these and other risk factors for death, and consider interventions that could make a real difference in the survival rate for people with epilepsy.
All applicants must hold a M.S., M.D., D.Phil, D.Sc., or equivalent degree in order to be eligible, and they must hold an academic appointment in a university or medical school, or have standing at a research institution or medical center. Check the website for more information.