Children who have epilepsy are offered new hope by charity


Horsham-based children’s charity Action Medical Research has donated £190,057 to help children with epilepsy.

A quarter of the 60,000 children and teenagers with epilepsy in the UK have seizures that existing drugs fail to control.

Seizures can cause physical injury and death and brain surgery to remove the part of the brain causing the seizures can dramatically improve life for some of these children, but important questions need to be answered beforehand.

Action Medical Research has granted the money to specialists at London’s Institute of Child Health for a three year investigation into a techinique called EEG-fMRI to map the brains of children with epilepsy to help increase their chances of having surgery.

Dr David Carmichael, who is leading the research, said: “It is vital that essential areas of the brain, such as those that control talking and walking, remain undamaged. But existing pre-surgical tests to identify these areas are often difficult to carry out or inconclusive in children, meaning we cannot offer surgery to everyone who may benefit.”

The team hopes to find out how well the technique works if children are allowed to wear headphones and watch cartoons inside the brain scanner, making it an easier experience for each child.

Dr Carmichael said: “We hope this can identify which children are most likely to benefit from surgery, so that the children, their families and their doctors are more informed when making the life-changing decision about whether to go ahead with surgery.”