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Epilepsy Research Benchmarks Progress Update (2007-2009)


Since the development of the 2007 Epilepsy Research Benchmarks, remarkable strides have been made toward understanding the causes of epilepsy and epileptogenesis, developing new and improved treatments, and delineating factors that contribute to comorbidities associated with epilepsy.  The Epilepsy Research Benchmarks Stewards have selected the following research advances from 2007-2009 as examples of important progress toward meeting goals within the 2007 Epilepsy Research benchmarks.  (Stewards and other researchers who contributed to this report are acknowledged below.) These advances resulted from research conducted in the U.S. and abroad and include numerous findings reported by the Stewards themselves.  Financial and other support for the investigators and projects that made these advances was provided by NINDS, other NIH institutes, and additional U.S. government partners; as well as by nongovernmental organizations including the Epilepsy Foundation, Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy, the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance, the Epilepsy Therapy Project, and the American Epilepsy Society, among many others.

Although the findings in these summaries hold much promise for reducing the burden of the epilepsies, many research needs remain unmet.  In particular, biomarkers and new and improved animal models are needed to aid the search for strategies to prevent epilepsy and to treat epilepsies that remain intractable to currently available interventions.  The comorbid conditions common in people with epilepsy were a new focus for the Epilepsy Benchmarks in 2007, and many questions have yet to be answered about the interplay between these conditions, seizures, and the underlying causes of epilepsy.  Moving forward, NINDS and the Benchmarks Stewards will continue to monitor research across all Benchmarks areas and to promote further progress in areas of need.  Among current opportunities, continued advances in technologies for genetics research and brain imaging and electrophysiological recording stand to accelerate the pace of discovery.  New resources and infrastructure for collaborative approaches also present research opportunities, as do recent insights from other disorders that share features with the epilepsies. 

Last updated December 23, 2013