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.


April 15, 2024 21 mins

Counseling of teens and young adults with epilepsy about reproductive issues is not happening often enough. Conversations about pregnancy are almost non existent. Sharp Waves spoke with authors of a recent paper that details these findings and discusses possible solutions.

Read the study: A retrospective textual analysis of sexual and reproductive health counseling for adolescent and young adult people with epilepsy of ges...

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People with epilepsy don't always know when they have had a seizure - and yet establishing seizure frequency is a key part of epilepsy management. When Dr. Mark Cook's father was diagnosed with epilepsy, Dr. Cook realized that a system to identify and predict seizures could improve care and change people's lives. Dr. Parthvi Ravat talks with him about entrepreneurship in epilepsy and ways to advance the field through...

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Is surgery for pediatric epilepsy "worth it"? What factors determine quality of life in families with a child who has epilepsy? Dr. Kette Valente talks with Dr. Mary Lou Smith, whose work has implications for clinical treatment decisions, as well as expectations for the impact of treatments in children with epilepsy.

Registration is now open for the 15th European Epilepsy Congress, held September 7th through 11th in Rome,...

EEG training varies within countries as well as between them; in many countries, there is no training available. Dr. Bruna Nucera talks with Dr. Sandor Beniczky about the present and future of clinical neurophysiology training, including a recent review that calls for harmonizing this type of training across the globe.

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Sharp Waves episodes are meant for informational purposes only, and not as clinical or medical adv...

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Seizures are common in neonates, but there is substantial management variability. The Neonatal Task Force of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) developed evidence-based recommendations about anti-seizure medication management in neonates in accordance with ILAE standards.

Dr. Emma Carter speaks with first author Dr. Ronit Pressler about the guidelines and recommendations, and how they were established. 

In the 1990s, there was more funding for leprosy research in the United Kingdom than for epilepsy research. It was around that time that Dr. Edward (Ted) Reynolds, then president of ILAE, recognized that as a global problem, epilepsy required global solutions.

His idea blossomed into the Global Campaign Against Epilepsy and established a partnership among ILAE, the World Health Organization, and the International Bureau f...

For her podcast, Epilepsy Sparks Insights, Torie Robinson interviews epilepsy clinicians and scientists from around the world. Diagnosed with epilepsy at age 10, Torie is working to share knowledge with people with epilepsy, their families, and the public. Her episode topics range widely, from the biochemistry of epilepsy, to the importance of epilepsy nurses, to epilepsy as an autoimmune condition, to sexual issues.


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Dr. Luis Oliviera is parent to a son with an ultra-rare developmental and epileptic encephalopathy.  He's also a researcher with the Michael J. Fox Foundation.  He created an organization bringing parents and researchers together to better understand his son's disorder, which is part of a  group of disorders caused by rare mutations in v-ATPase genes. Dr. Oliviera was interviewed by Dr. Alina Ivaniuk.

Visit the v...

The Idea of Epilepsy, published in 2023, covers the history of epilepsy from multiple perspectives over the past 160 years. It ends with a tantalizing question: Does epilepsy actually exist? Dr. Phillip Pearl interviews author Dr. Simon Shorvon about why and how he wrote the book and what it has to offer clinicians, researchers, and non-scientists alike.

More about The Idea of Epilepsy (from the publisher)

Registration is ...

Are people who have their first seizure during sleep at greater or lesser risk for future seizures, compared with people who have their first seizure when they're awake? Dr. Laurent Sheybani interviews Dr. Elaine Pang, author of a 2023 paper in Epilepsia that analyzed data from 1,312 adults visiting a first-seizure clinic.

This episode also discusses a 2015 evidence-based guideline on managing a first unprovoked seizu...

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Dr. Raphael Mechoulam was an organic chemist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the father of cannabis research. His team was the first to elucidate the structure of cannabidiol, or CBD. 

Dr. Mechoulam passed away in March 2023. This episode is a remastering of a conversation between Dr. Mechoulam and Dr. Meir Bialer, held in 2018 at the 13th European Congress on Epileptology. They spoke about CBD, THC, the endocan...

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Nearly one-third of people with autism also have epilepsy. Researchers aren't sure why. 

For people on the spectrum, epilepsy can prompt unique challenges. Seizure symptoms can be misinterpreted as common autistic behaviors. Treatment may also be difficult due to the stress of a clinical setting, or the impact of anti-seizure medications on autism symptoms. Currently, some experts argue that there is a lack of resear...

Dravet syndrome is a rare, severe epilepsy caused by changes in a gene called SCN1A. The changes cause the gene to stop functioning normally. But not everyone with this type of genetic change develops Dravet syndrome, and people with Dravet also have a wide range of clinical characteristics, which can't be fully explained by these changes. What else is going on? We spoke with Dr. Sanjay Sisodiya about a recent publication on g...

Sara Staggs was a civil rights attorney and pregnant with her second child when her doctors told her to stop practicing law: her seizures had become too frequent. Staggs' 2023 novel, Uncontrollable, fictionalizes her experiences with epilepsy and provides insight into how epilepsy affects families, careers, and relationships. 

Staggs talked with Dr. Alina Ivaniuk about her epilepsy history, her surgical evaluation exp...

We'll frame today's talk around a paper recently published in the European Journal of Neurology:  "The incidence and risk factors associated with seizures in cerebral amyloid angiopathy." With us today is the first author of the article, Dr. Brin Freund. 

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Sharp Waves episodes are meant for informational purposes only, and not as clinical or medical advice.

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Diet treatments are often used with the aim of reducing seizure frequency and severity — but they may have other benefits as well.

Findings from a recent study conducted in Norway suggest that dietary treatments may normalize emotional symptoms and that health-related quality of life (HRQOL) might be an indicator of successful diet treatment in the future. Joy Mazur spoke with Dr. Magnhild Kverneland about the study'...

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Some published data suggest that besides their effect on cholesterol, statins also may play a neuroprotective role in some neurological disorders, including epilepsy. Dr. Bruna Nucera interviews Dr. Anthony Marson and Dr. Emilio Russo about whether and how to test statins as potential anti-epileptogenic drugs.

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Sharp Waves episodes are meant for informational purposes only, and not as clinical or medical advice.

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Functional seizures, also known as psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES), resemble epileptic seizures. Unlike epilepsy, they are not prompted by any electrical activity in the brain. People with functional seizures live with stigma, stress, and emotional and financial burden — and so do their care partners.

Joy Mazur spoke with Shannon Guinard, who cares for her husband, about the challenges and stigmas that face care p...

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Do seizures have daily, weekly, monthly, or other rhythms? In Part 2 of our two-part series on circadian rhythms, Dr. Laurent Sheybani talks with Dr. Maxime Baud about the latest research on circadian and multidien rhythms in epilepsy.

Selected publications:

Seizure cycles in focal epilepsy - MG Leguia, et al. (2021) JAMA Neurology

Endogenous multidien rhythm of epilepsy in rats - MO Baud, et al. (2019)...

 The cyclic properties of seizures have been known for more than 100 years, but does everyone with epilepsy have a seizure pattern? What can be learned from seizure diaries, RNS data, and animal models, and how can this information guide further research and clinical care? Dr. Laurent Sheybani talks with Dr. Mark Quigg about circadian rhythms in epilepsy.

Selected publications:
Electrocorticographic events from long-te...

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