Epilepsy Ontario Research Funding Announcement

Epilepsy Ontario is pleased to announce it has entered into a formal partnership with EpLink – The Epilepsy Research Program of the Ontario Brain Institute (www.eplink.ca) regarding a study into the link between brain trauma and the onset of Epilepsy.

It has long been known that people who suffer a traumatic brain injury are more likely to develop epilepsy in the subsequent years. Why this happens though is unclear and has been the subject of an ongoing study under the direction of Dr. Jorge Burneo, Associate Professor and Researcher at Western University in London and Co-Director of EpLink. Through the generous support of the William Donald Willis Fund, Epilepsy Ontario’s contribution will allow Dr. Burneo to compile an extensive database of patients with brain injuries who went on to develop epilepsy. The direct link to Dr. Burneo’s study on EpLink’s website: http://eplink.ca/2011/10/epilepsy-after-brain-injury/

“We want to see what kinds of epilepsy treatment were most responsive to various types of brain trauma,” says Dr. Burneo. “That way we can design better treatments for patients with brain trauma and maybe even prevent the onset of Epilepsy.”

While Epilepsy prevention remains a long-term goal, new cutting-edge technology being used in Dr. Burneo’s study at his London, Ontario lab is allowing him to see the inner workings of the brain with unprecedented clarity. It’s called Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), a variation of MRI technology. Unlike MRI’s, which show the general structure of the brain, DTI’s measure changes in water distribution in the brain on a molecular level. That has allowed neuroscientists to detect brain injuries that were not visible with a conventional MRI.

For Dr. Burneo, that degree of precision is essential for the study and diagnosis of brain trauma and epilepsy.

“A broken bone is the same for everyone, but every brain injury is different and every case of epilepsy is different,” says. Dr. Burneo.

He hopes that the ability to see where epilepsy forms in the brain at the earliest stages of the disease using DTI technology will allow for better treatment options in the future.

Epilepsy Ontario Executive Director Paul Raymond says this marks an exciting new chapter in Epilepsy Ontario’s 60-year history.  “By partnering with some of Ontario’s leading epilepsy research centres, we can now contribute to the ground-breaking work being done in the lab to better understand the diagnosis and treatment for the almost 90,000 people with epilepsy in Ontario,” says Raymond.

Epilepsy Southwestern Ontario Executive Director Michelle Franklin shares the excitement.
“As the local community epilepsy agency, we are delighted with the investment in Dr Burneo’s research, and the potential it holds to improve the lives of people living with epilepsy,” says Franklin.

Epilepsy Ontario has also entered into a formal partnership with the Krembil Neuroscience Centre at Toronto Western Hospital to fund original research, including the largest music therapy study as it applies to Epilepsy ever conducted in Canada. We will announce details of that initiative and other research projects in the weeks ahead.

For media inquires or to arrange an interview with Paul Raymond please contact:
Sean O’Malley
Research Program Administrator
Epilepsy Ontario
[email protected]