The Targeted Research Initiative for Morbidity and Mortality supports research that generates initial data leading to more extensive projects that will generate knowledge that will ultimately improve the lives of persons with epilepsy. This initiative recognizes the need for research and new insights into these scientific areas.

The broad focus of the morbidity portion of this program includes: identification of somatic comorbidities in epilepsy that occur more than expected among controls, including but not limited to diabetes, gastrointestinal bleeding, chronic lung disease, congenital cardiac abnormalities, heart failure, and pneumonia; and associations between somatic comorbidities in epilepsy and epilepsy outcomes, including quality of life in epilepsy, seizure remission, stigma and other outcomes.

The mortality portion of the program is focused upon potentially preventable causes of death in epilepsy, such as accidents, suicide and SUDEP. Applicants are encouraged to examine risk factors for these causes of death in epilepsy; as well as interventions to decrease the presence of risk factors for these causes of death where risk factors have been identified. 


Carl L. Faingold, Ph.D.
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine,Springfield, IL
SUDEP Prevention: Mediators of Post-Ictal Respiratory Control

Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is a devastating consequence of seizures and is thought to be caused by abnormal breathing, heart, and brain activity after seizure. SUDEP is the major cause of death in epileptic patients, and DBA mice are an important animal model of SUDEP. This project will evaluate the changes in breathing and heart and brain activity after seizure to determine the contribution of these abnormalities to SUDEP in DBA mice. Discovering a treatment to prevent SUDEP is an important goal of epilepsy research, since there is no current treatment. Several chemicals are released during seizures that may contribute to SUDEP, including opiate-like agents and adenosine. This project will measure these chemicals in the blood of DBA mice and patients after seizures to determine if they are potentially important to SUDEP. A drug that blocks the effects of adenosine appears to block SUDEP in DBA mice, and this will be verified along with evaluating the effects of drugs that block opiate effects in this proposal in mice to establish the potential use of these drugs for prevention of SUDEP.