Epilepsy is the second most common neurological condition worldwide, after headaches. In Ontario, it affects nearly 90,000 people. The disorder causes seizures of varying kinds and intensity. However, people with epilepsy must also live with other devastating results of their illness: the social stigma associated with seizures, difficulty finding employment, loss of driving privileges, cognitive decline, memory impairment, and higher mortality rates. The average one year health care cost per person with a new diagnosis of epilepsy is estimated at $10,000. The Ontario Brain Institute challenged neuroscientists across the province to come up with a new approach to addressing epilepsy, in the context of an Integrated Discovery Program. The Epilepsy Research Program (EpLink) program is a research-based innovative initiative designed to improve the care of epilepsy from diagnosis to treatment.
The program’s mandate is to ensure that discoveries are transformed into new diagnostics, treatments and improved clinical practice. Eplink’s emphasis will be on translational science, involving a province-wide collaboration between Ontario’s world-class epilepsy researchers, clinicians, patient advocacy groups and the industrial sector.
The Eplink Program aims for improved diagnosis and seizure prediction through studying drug, diet and gene therapies; brain stimulation and surgical procedures; and quality of life. Researchers believe that this novel and collaborative approach will give more insight into the disease and pave ways for better outcomes in the future.
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