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Trying to stop Sudden Unexpected Death in EPilepsy (SUDEP)

Many patients with epilepsy die unexpectedly-often in their sleep. What is causing SUDEP remains a mystery and to date there are no treatments available.

Aims

This project will involve establishing drug testing protocols in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome. The project will also involve measuring brain and heart activity in this model. Behavioural tests will be used to determine the impact of each treatment on seizure and SUDEP outcomes.

Dravet syndrome is a severe form of epilepsy that is caused mostly by mutations in the SCN1A gene. This gene encodes a brain voltage-activated sodium channel critical for the generation of action potentials. Dravet patients are particularly prone to SUDEP. A mouse with a human SCN1A mutation is a good model of this disease as it recapitulates the seizures and early death seen in patients.

We can use this preclinical mouse model to test drugs to determine if they reduce or increase the risk of SUDEP. 

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