Genetics of epilepsy

Published on August 5, 2014   41 min

Other Talks in the Series: The Genetic Basis of Neurological Disorders

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My name is Sanjay Sisodiya. I am Professor of Neurology at the UCL Institute of Neurology. This presentation is on the genetics of epilepsy. This is a very rapidly moving area where discoveries are being made very frequently, allowing us to better understand the basis of many more epilepsies than we previously were able to understand.
The objectives of this presentation. To obtain a better understanding of the place of genetics in epilepsy-- why is genetics important to epilepsy? How can genetics be studied? What techniques are available? And what kind of findings are emerging? Genetics, in summary, is reordering the epilepsies, allowing us a better understanding of the different types of conditions that are present. Genetics can be a useful clinical tool, and genetics can help improve understanding and management in epilepsy. And these are the key messages of this presentation.
Epilepsy is a tendency to recurrent seizures. Globally, something like 50 million people have epilepsy. And of these, one in three people have epilepsy with seizures that are resistant to treatment. This is a very pervasive and pernicious condition, affecting many different aspects of an individual's life, creating a burden that affects all aspects of that individual's life, including, for example, increasing morbidity with a high risk of premature mortality. In the UK alone, epilepsy directly leads to death in about 1000 people a year. And as a result of all of these aspects of epilepsy, the societal costs are high, with more than 15 billion euros per year spent on epilepsy across Europe with the antiepileptic drug bill alone, in the UK, amounting to more than 140 million pounds a year. Beyond this, there is a huge treatment gap. Most people with epilepsy in the world do not get drugs at all. So there are significant needs in epilepsy. And genetics, hopefully, will meet some of these.