Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Experts discuss next generation treatments for epilepsy at RCSI MyHealth free public lecture

02 February 2017

Gene-targeting therapies and wearable tech among future treatments for epilepsy

There are a range of drug and surgical therapies that are currently used to treat people who suffer from epilepsy. However, innovative research being carried out in Ireland aims to develop better therapies in the future by targeting the underlying processes that cause epilepsy directly, as opposed to simply preventing the associated seizures by dampening down brain activity, which is the current norm for treatments. This research will be the focus of a free RCSI MyHealth public lecture this evening (Thursday 2nd February) in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). The lecture, entitled "Protecting Minds - Epilepsy Research, Treatments and Lifestyle Issues", will be held from 18.30 - 20.30 at RCSI, 123 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2.

More than 37,000 people in Ireland suffer from epilepsy, a condition which anyone can develop regardless of their age or family history. Most patients have little or no cause for their epilepsy while some can develop it from a brain injury, stroke or infection to the brain*.

The lecture will be chaired by Professor David Henshall, Professor of Molecular Physiology & Neuroscience at RCSI, who will talk about the ground-breaking research he is leading that is informing the future of epilepsy treatments. He will discuss some of the latest approaches to target the complex underlying causes of the disease.

Speaking ahead of the lecture, Professor David Henshall said, "We are now moving towards the next generation of epilepsy treatments where we will use genome sequencing to guide decisions about the right treatment for a patient and design medications that are disease-modifying. Wearable technologies will also be used to help patients better track their well-being in the form of personal monitoring devices and biomarker detection devices to inform therapy response. The aim of this RCSI MyHealth lecture is to increase awareness of epilepsy as a condition and to inform the public of how our research is advancing the various therapies and treatments, as well as giving attendees some practical advice and information that they can take away from the session, whether they be epilepsy patients themselves or have a family member or friend with the condition".

Professor Norman Delanty, Consultant Neurologist & Epileptologist, Beaumont Hospital and Honorary Associate Professor at RCSI will also speak at the session on the journey epilepsy patients go on from their very first seizure, to diagnosis, through to finding the right course of medication for each individual patient's form of epilepsy.

Some patients may be suitable candidates for epilepsy surgery if they are not responding to medication therapies or if their epilepsy is caused by a specific structural problem in part or parts of their brain. Mr Donncha O'Brien, Consultant Neurosurgeon at Beaumont Hospital will discuss such surgical procedures and cover how surgery candidates are selected and will delve into the risks and outcomes of such procedures.

While people who suffer from epilepsy are restricted from just a few lifestyle activities and careers, patients are encouraged to live a full life with the condition whereby they take control of their epilepsy. Ms Geraldine Dunne, Information Officer at Epilepsy Ireland will speak on the various lifestyle issues associated with the condition including careers, leisure, sport and travel.

This RCSI MyHealth public lecture is free of charge; however registration is essential in order to guarantee a place. Register at For those who are unable to attend on the night, the lecture will also be live streamed at and you can join the conversation online, on the night, on Twitter at #RCSIMyHealth.

RCSI is ranked in the top two per cent of institutions worldwide in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (2015-2016) and is in the top 50 in the world for ‘International Outlook'. It is an international not-for-profit health sciences institution, with its headquarters in Dublin, focused on education and research to drive improvements in human health worldwide

Lecture Details:
Title: "Protecting Minds - Epilepsy Research, Treatments and Lifestyle Issues", An RCSI MyHealth Public Lecture
Date: Thursday 2nd February 2017 at 18.30 - 20.30
Location: 123 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2
Chairman - Prof David Henshall, Professor of Molecular Physiology & Neuroscience at RCSI
Prof Norman Delanty, Consultant Neurologist & Epileptologist, Beaumont Hospital and Honorary Associate Professor, RCSI
Mr Donncha O'Brien, Consultant Neurosurgeon, Beaumont Hospital
Ms Geraldine Dunne, National Information Officer, Epilepsy Ireland

Admission: Free.

* Epilepsy Ireland