Wanted: Folks Interested in Making Epilepsy Less Deadly

Epilepsy can be seriously bad news. As if the potential for sudden, uncontrollable seizures isn’t enough, epileptics have to worry about the grim side effects of those seizures. Like internal bleeding, serious injury, and, you know, death. So investing time and money in limiting morbidity and mortality among epileptics would seem like a good bet, yes? Yes.

The Landover, Maryland-based Epilepsy Foundation has announced that it’s now accepting applications for its Targeted Research Initiative for Morbidity and Mortality. The program, it says, will provide one-year grants of up to $50,000 to support research designed to generate the initial data that can lead to more extensive projects. The kind of extensive projects that will generate life-saving knowledge.

Life-saving is the focus here. The program includes identification of somatic co-morbidities—injuries and conditions that often co-exist in epilepsythat occur more than expected among controls, including diabetes, gastrointestinal bleeding, chronic lung disease, congenital cardiac abnormalities, heart failure, and pneumonia. Associations between these somatic co-morbidities in epilepsy and epilepsy outcomes can seriously impact other, harder to quantify aspects of patients’ lives, such as quality of life in epilepsy, seizure remission, social stigma, and other outcomes.

Mortality-wise, the program is focused mainly on potentially preventable causes of death in epilepsy such as accidents, suicide, and SUDEP, or sudden unexpected death in epilepsy. Anyone interested in applying should examine risk factors for these causes of death in epilepsy, and consider interventions that could reduce the presence of risk factors for these causes of death—at least those causes of death where the risk factors have been identified.

To be eligible, potential applicants must hold a master's of science, doctor of medicine, doctor of philosophy, doctor of science, or equivalent degree. In addition, applicants must have an academic appointment in a university or medical school, or have equivalent standing at a research institution or medical center. Postdoctoral fellows must be in at least the second year of fellowship with an active academic appointment by the start of the grant period. For more information, visit the website