Sharp Waves: ILAE's epilepsy podcast

Sharp Waves: ILAE's epilepsy podcast

Epilepsy affects more than 50 million people. Every day. Sharp Waves brings you stories about people with epilepsy, physicians treating epilepsy, and researchers studying the condition. We'll cover the latest research, challenges to diagnosis and treatment, and issues from around the world.


November 29, 2022 37 min

Dr. Alina Ivaniuk talks with Dr. Caroline Neuray about her career path from medical school to industry CEO. (It's not as direct as it sounds!) They discuss the power of peer mentoring, ways to improve medical education, finding the courage to accept change, and what's up with those comments from reviewer #2, anyway.

Dr. Neuray is Chief Executive Officer of Epilog, which offers advanced EEG analysis to support clinical care, ...

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First-line immunotherapy and the ketogenic diet are two main recommendations for treatment of NORSE/FIRES of unknown cause, according to results from an international consensus group published in Epilepsia.

Dr. Maryam Nabavi Nouri interviews first author Dr. Ronny Wickstrom.

For cases with unknown etiology,  first-line immunotherapy should be considered within 72 hours of seizure onset, and second-line immunotherapy and the ketogenic...

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Nurses have been called the "glue" of epilepsy care, but their value and impact aren't always appreciated. The ILAE Nursing Section welcomes nurses from every country to help advocate for a better understanding of what nurses do, how their care improves outcomes in people with epilepsy, and how nurses can contribute to the goals of the Intersectoral Global Action Plan for Epilepsy and other Neurological Diseases (IGAP)....

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Does in utero exposure to anti-seizure medication affect motor and mental development? A study using data from the Kerala Registry of Epilepsy in Pregnancy included more than 1,300 infants. Those exposed to valproate monotherapy, as well as any polytherapy, had higher risks of developmental delay.

Dr. Bruna Nucera talked with Dr. Sanjeev Thomas about the findings and implications of the study.

The study, Differential impact of antena...

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What are the associations between Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy?  Dr. Patricia Saletti interviews Dr. Andrew Cole and Dr. Alice Lam.

Recent studies have revealed intriguing connections between epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease, including a bidirectional increased risk and subclinical seizures in people with Alzheimer's. What do these relationships mean for people with these conditions, and what's the latest researc...

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Dr. Alina Ivaniuk interviews Dr. Meriem Bensalem-Owen about growing up in Algeria, attending medical school during a civil war, moving to the United States for training, and starting Kentucky's first epilepsy fellowship program. Dr. Bensalem-Owen directs the epilepsy program at the University of Kentucky and is a past board member of the National Association of Epilepsy Centers. She is passionate about Brazilian jiu jitsu and A...

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What is autoimmune-associated epilepsy, and how is it different from acute seizures with an autoimmune cause? How can clinicians best diagnose and treat these conditions? Sharp Waves reporter Dr. Maryam Nabavi-Nouri spoke with Dr. Claude Steriade.

Claude Steriade, MD, CM is originally from Quebec City, Canada. She completed medical school at McGill University in Montreal, followed by an adult neurology residency at the University of...

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We talk with the authors of a recent study that found a higher incidence of epilepsy in more socially deprived areas of County Cork, Ireland. How was the dataset compiled, and what are the implications of their findings?

Read the full study (open access) in Epilepsia: Association between social deprivation and incidence of first seizures and epilepsy: A prospective population-based cohort. Eimer M. Maloney, Paul Corcoran, Daniel J. ...

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Dr. Alina Ivaniuk talks with Dr. Fábio Nascimento about his medical training and the factors contributing to his successful and varied career path.

Dr. Nascimento became the director of Washington University’s Adult Tuberous Sclerosis Center Clinic in summer 2022, after completing an epilepsy and clinical neurophysiology fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is co-creator and co-host of EEG Talk, a YouTube channel dedicat...

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What does it take to define and classify 39 epilepsy syndromes?  Dr. Elaine Wirrell chaired the ILAE task force that undertook this charge in 2017.  Through in-person meetings, Zoom calls, emails, and gallons of coffee, the group of international experts shaped four classification papers, along with a fifth explaining the methodology and listing the syndromes. We also spoke with Dr. Kate Riney, who was part of the task force and in...

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As many as two-thirds of women with epilepsy have seizures that fluctuate with their menstrual cycles. Called catamenial epilepsy, the phenomenon has three distinct patterns.

In this episode of Sharp Waves, Dr. Bruna Nucera talks with Dr. Herzog about the three patterns of catamenial epilepsy, the possible mechanisms behind these seizure exacerbations, and how sex hormones otherwise affect both women and men with epilepsy. They disc...

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In this episode, we talk with a third-year medical student, a neuroscience researcher, an avid rock climber, and a young man with epilepsy. The catch: They’re all the same person.

Rick Nolan, 28, is a medical student from the US who also has done graduate coursework in neuroscience, publishing a study of his own brain in 2020. Nolan was diagnosed in his early 20s with epilepsy, which did not respond to medication. He took a year off...

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Schools can be an important focus for screening of children for epilepsy, as well as educational efforts to address basic knowledge, stigma, and misconceptions associated with epilepsy. Schools also are an appropriate and necessary place to provide seizure first aid to affected students, teachers, and staff, as well as rescue medications when needed.

There is strong stigma around epilepsy in India;  parents may deny that a child has...

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Katja Kobow is the most recent winner of the Michael Prize, an international award in epilepsy research. Her work focuses on epigenetics and epilepsy, a field that has grown exponentially in only the past 10 to 15 years. Dr. Kobow talked about her research and its potential for epilepsy diagnosis and treatment.

Epigenetics is the bookmarking system or the data management system of our genome. It decides which part of the genome is r...

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Can women with epilepsy get pregnant, give birth to healthy babies, and breastfeed? What are the myths and misconceptions around epilepsy during pregnancy, and what do physicians and women need to know? Dr. Anca Arbune interviews Dr. Page Pennell about the latest research and knowledge.

Women with epilepsy were once counseled to avoid pregnancy, but epilepsy is no longer a barrier to giving birth. The vast majority of women will hav...

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Could annual dramatic shifts in day/night patterns in the Arctic have an effect on seizures? One researcher went looking for answers – and found more than he bargained for. His research revealed a public health crisis in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, highlighting the needs of geographically isolated communities and Indigenous peoples. (He also found intriguing results to his original question.)
 Dr. Marcus Ng review...

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Anti-seizure medications are not a cure, and about 30% of people with epilepsy don't respond to them. How are new medications discovered, and what's on the horizon?  Dr. Patricia Grandizoli Saletti interviews Dr. Karen Wilcox about her work with the Anticonvulsive Drug Development Program.

Only about two-thirds of people with epilepsy have their seizures controlled by medication. The Anticonvulsive Drug Development (ADD) Pro...

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Can electrical current stop seizures, or make seizures less severe? How does it work, and who can benefit?  Dr. Laurent Sheybani interviews Dr. Robert Fisher about deep-brain stimulation for epilepsy.

Disclosure: Dr. Fisher is a consultant for Medtronic but receives no compensation for using its deep-brain stimulation devices.

Deep-brain stimulation (DBS) is the newest of three types of neuromodulation for epilepsy, and targets a par...

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Someone who has persistent seizures that last more than 24 hours, despite treatment, is in super refractory status epilepticus, or SRSE. The condition is rare, but often results in death or disability.

Bringing someone out of SRSE usually involves treatment with anti-seizure medications and anesthetics, but other therapies are beginning to gain attention. One of those therapies is the ketogenic diet. This high-fat diet has been used...

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How can you describe your first seizures to a doctor if you don't remember them happening? What if your university professors don't believe you have epilepsy? How do you handle misinformation from family and friends about what epilepsy is?

Bright M. Bwalya has had to answer each of these questions, and more. Diagnosed with epilepsy in 2016, Bright coupled his experiences with curiosity and compassion to become one of Zambia&...

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