La Trobe University neuroscientist, Dr Maryam Zoghi, and her research team have received funding from the Epilepsy Foundation to undertake a pilot study aimed at reducing the number of brain seizures experienced by people living with epilepsy.
“Even with current medical interventions, more than one-third of people with epilepsy continue to experience seizures during their lifetime,” says Dr Zoghi.
“It can affect their ability to work, drive, perform home duties, and participate in social activities and education.”
Dr Zoghi’s pilot study, to be undertaken in collaboration with Alfred Health, aims to identify strategies to reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures by using transcranial direct-current brain stimulation.
The non-invasive, non-pharmacological technique uses the application of a direct, weak current to the scalp via rectangular pads to reduce brain hyper-excitability.
“The approach can modify abnormal electrical brain activity for several months, without adverse side-effects,” Dr Zoghi says.
“If we can prove its efficacy, it could be used to augment the beneficial effects of medicine and surgery, and to strengthen comprehensive, inter-professional care.”
“By increasing our understanding of how to treat drug-resistant epilepsy, we aim to reduce the frequency of seizures, improve quality of life for patients and their caregivers, and reduce the need for frequent hospital readmissions.”
Epilepsy is a chronic and debilitating neurological condition characterised by recurrent brain seizures. It affects more than 65 million people worldwide and 250,000 people in Australia.
Learn more about the Academic and Research Collaborative in Health (ARCH) and the Alfred Health ARCH.