Epilepsy in children | Action Medical Research

Epilepsy in Children

Around 60,000 children and teenagers under 18 in the UK have epilepsy. Sadly, up to one third of these young people carry on having seizures despite trying medication, meaning life can be difficult and unpredictable.

A seizure happens when there is a sudden burst of intense electrical activity in the brain. This is often referred to as epileptic activity. The epileptic activity causes a temporary disruption to the way the brain normally works, so the brain’s messages become mixed up. There are many different types of seizure, and each person will experience epilepsy in a way that is unique to them.

Sophie pictured, was diagnosed with epilepsy as a baby and during her early years she was given drugs to control her seizures. Aged 10, she had a severe seizure and was admitted to hospital. It took three weeks for her condition to be stabilised.

We are funding research to help children like Sophie with epilepsy.

Epilepsy: are night-time breathing problems disrupting children’s sleep?

Research date: 1 March 2017 - 28 February 2019
Grant amount: £43,868.00

Over 60,000 children and young people aged 18 and under have epilepsy in the UK.1 Dr Don Urquhart, of Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children, is investigating suggestions that children with epilepsy are unusually susceptible to breathing problems at night because of a disorder called obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). If it’s spotted, OSA...

Epilepsy: a new way to treat children with uncontrolled seizures

Research date: 1 February 2016 - 6 December 2018
Grant amount: £164,253.00

Over 60,000 children and teenagers aged 18 and under have epilepsy in the UK.1 Sadly, medication doesn’t work for up to one third of these young people.2-3 There are other ways to treat epilepsy, but some children carry on having seizures, which can be unpleasant and unpredictable. Dr Antonio Valentin, of King’s College London, is...

Searching for better treatments for children with a rare metabolic disease

Research date: 1 January 2016 - 30 April 2018
Grant amount: £177,915.00

Children with a rare metabolic disease called non-ketotic hyperglycinemia (NKH) may one day benefit from research by Professor Nicholas Greene of University College London’s Institute of Child Health. Children with this devastating condition normally become ill soon after birth. Sadly, some lose their lives while just babies, some others during...

Tackling a rare condition that robs children of their ability to talk and understand speech: Landau Kleffner syndrome

Research date: 2 March 2016 - 1 March 2018
Grant amount: £161,305.00

Research Training Fellowship*: Dr Ngoh Children with a rare brain condition called Landau Kleffner syndrome (LKS) – which is estimated to affect up to one in every 300,000 children – may one day benefit from research by Dr Adeline Ngoh of University College London’s Institute of Child Health.1 When they’re between three and nine...

Epilepsy: could better brain scans enable more children to have life-changing surgery?

Research date: 9 March 2015 - 1 August 2018
Grant amount: £164,035.00

Around 60,000 children and teenagers under 18 in the UK have epilepsy.1 Sadly, up to one third of these young people carry on having seizures despite trying medication, meaning life can be difficult and unpredictable.2-5 Brain surgery can totally transform some of these children’s lives by freeing them from seizures altogether, but important...

Epilepsy: does sleep disruption interfere with children’s learning?

Research date: 1 June 2013 - 26 August 2016
Grant amount: £123,892.00

Around 60,000 children have epilepsy in the UK.1,2 Evidence suggests around one person in every five with epilepsy also has a learning disability.1 Professor Helen Cross, of University College London Institute of Child Health, is investigating whether learning problems in children with epilepsy are linked to disruption of sleep patterns and to epileptic...

Epilepsy: new brain scans could give more children the chance of surgery

Research date: 9 May 2012 - 8 February 2016
Grant amount: £190,057.00

Around 60,000 children and teenagers under 18 in the UK have epilepsy.1 Sadly, around one in four find existing drugs do not control their seizures.2 Brain surgery can dramatically improve life for some of these children, but important questions must be answered before children undergo such a major operation. Dr David Carmichael from the Institute of...

Other related information

Better brain scans for children with epilepsy

Posted: 27 March 2017 14:40 pm
Research funded by Action has allowed doctors to successfully test a new child-friendly brain scanning technique to identify children with drug-resistant epilepsy who could be treated by surgery. Their results have led the team to make a business case for their test to become a new clinical service within London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital and...

Identifying how a debilitating speech and movement condition is linked to epilepsy

Posted: 5 May 2015 14:00 pm
Around 60,000 children and young people under the age of 18 in the UK are estimated to have epilepsy. Drug treatments have unpleasant side effects and, sadly, one in four lives with epilepsy that is difficult to control with medication. Children affected are often described as clumsy and this is usually blamed on drug side effects. But they may in fact...

Epilepsy Week: children’s charity celebrates research investment

Posted: 16 May 2013 14:58 pm
Children’s charity Action Medical Research is marking National Epilepsy Week (19-25 May 2013) by highlighting its funding of epilepsy research. Around half a million people in the UK are estimated to have epilepsy, an estimated 60,000 of whom are children and teenagers under 18.  Existing drugs have side effects which can be unpleasant and,...

Seizures in babies: cutting-edge imaging technique to improve diagnosis

Posted: 30 July 2012 09:10 am
A cutting-edge technique, combining brain imaging and monitoring of its electrical activity, could improve early diagnosis and treatment of babies who suffer seizures. Researchers at The Rosie Hospital, Cambridge, are investigating the new technique with funding from children’s charity Action Medical Research. In the UK over 2,000 newborn babies...

New brain scans could give more children with epilepsy the chance of surgery

Posted: 12 July 2012 13:56 pm
Researchers at the Institute of Child Health in London are investigating sophisticated new scanning methods to map the brains of children with epilepsy. The pioneering technique will help identify more children with the serious neurological disorder who will benefit from surgery, which can dramatically improve their lives.

Dr David...

Charity's 60th anniversary: celebrating investment in top medical research to help epilepsy sufferers

Posted: 17 May 2012 17:18 pm
Children’s charity Action Medical Research is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year; marking National Epilepsy Week (20-26 May 2012) by highlighting its funding history of epilepsy research. Over £3 million has been invested in this field by the charity which has helped thousands of sufferers across the UK. Identifying genes which may...

Grants awarded to top Cambridge researchers to help sick babies and children

Posted: 13 January 2012 14:12 pm
Leading research teams in Cambridge have been given over £300,000 in grants by children’s charity Action Medical Research, to carry out studies which aim to help reduce the suffering of sick babies and children.

The charity has been supporting significant medical breakthroughs for nearly 60 years, and has today announced the...

Investing £1.3 million in research for sick children and babies

Posted: 11 January 2012 17:01 pm
Action Medical Research – the leading UK-wide medical research charity dedicated to helping babies and children – has today announced grants worth more than £1.3 million for top researchers across the country. The charity has been supporting significant medical breakthroughs for nearly 60 years, and today announced its latest round of...

Action Medical Research celebrates 60 years of top medical research investment in London

Posted: 5 January 2012 10:59 am
Children’s charity Action Medical Research is celebrating investing more than £100 million into vital medical research over the past 60 years, which has led to some key scientific breakthroughs to help reduce the suffering of sick babies and children. Research funded over the years has included pioneering work carried out across a variety of...

London researchers given more than £450,000 to help sick babies and children

Posted: 3 November 2011 15:33 pm
Three leading research teams in London have been given more than £450,000 in grants by children’s charity Action Medical Research, to carry out studies which aim to help reduce the suffering of sick babies and children. The charity has been supporting significant medical breakthroughs for nearly 60 years, and has today announced the grants...

Shedding light on epilepsy treatment

Posted: 1 March 2011 12:59 pm
Epilepsy affects about one in every 242 children in the UK. The disorder of the nervous system can cause recurring seizures, which disrupt the normal message exchange between brain cells.Uncontrolled seizures can devastate children’s lives affecting their education and social development. Children with epilepsy frequently...

Improving treatment and surgery for epilepsy in children and adults

Posted: 17 December 2010 13:57 pm
Around half a million people in the UK have seizures that happen again and again due to epilepsy, about 60,000 of whom are under 18. Not all seizures can be prevented with drug treatments. In 1992 Action funding helped researchers at the Institute of Child Health, University College London, to find new ways to treat children with epilepsy with surgery....

My life on a leash

Posted: 4 October 2010 10:00 am
Unlike most teenagers, Emma Greenhouse is not looking forward to her upcoming 18th birthday. This date has been difficult since she turned eight – and had her first major epileptic seizure. Now, Emma has at least two tonic clonic seizures (convulsive seizures that involve jerking and shaking) every week despite taking five different medications....

Could light therapy help epilepsy patients who don't respond to treatment?

Posted: 17 June 2010 11:40 am
A new clinical trial has started which is investigating whether light therapy could benefit people with epilepsy who continue to have seizures despite having tried several medications.  The research, which is being carried out at the Institute of Neurology, University College London, and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, is being...

Tackling epilepsy and episodic ataxia

Posted: 1 February 2008 00:00 am
In order to live a normal life medication is often a necessity. But in some cases even this is not sufficient to assist one to live a seizure-free life and the sideeffects of this medication may cause additional health problems. Seizures can hamper one’s daily life causing disruption to education, damaging employment prospects not to mention a loss...

"Thank you for giving Caroll back to us"

Posted: 1 February 2007 00:00 am
Known as Caroll to her friends and family, Caroline experienced her first epileptic seizure when she was just 14 years of age. At first the seizures were put down to puberty, and despite repeated fits and visits to doctors, her condition went undiagnosed. Caroline recalls, “Epilepsy had a major effect on my life from the start. All the things that...

The sacred disease

Posted: 1 March 2004 00:00 am
Epilepsy is clearly no barrier to greatness; but it is a seriously debilitating condition, which is still common throughout the world. The first descriptions of epilepsy are acknowledged to be those found on Babylonian tablets dating back to 2000BC. But it was the Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates who, in 400BC, wrote his essay ‘On the Sacred...

My story: epilepsy

Posted: 1 March 2004 00:00 am
“I used to get really bad grand mal seizures — really big and bad — all the time and at any time without warning. I’d lose count of the number I’d have in a month. I was all over the place, and it continued like that for best part of five years. In the first year I didn’t even go to my GP. I’d never heard of...

Action Medical Research changed my life!

Posted: 1 September 2002 00:00 am
When mother-of-three Janet Watkins suffered her first epileptic seizure in her sleep at the age of 32, it was a terrifying experience for both her and her husband Pete. Fit and healthy, and a part-time staff nurse, Janet had never suffered anything like it before. “It was frightening because it was literally like a bolt out of the blue and Pete didn...
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