New study focuses on link between epilepsy and lifestyle choices


CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Clinic has launched a new study on the link between epilepsy and stress. The five-year clinical trial is the first of its kind to compare the effect of lifestyle interventions such as yoga, music therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy on seizure control.

The research team will study the impact of seizure frequency as well as comorbidities associated with epilepsy such as depression, anxiety, cognitive function and quality of life.

The team will follow 1,000 patients with hard-to-treat epilepsy. The funding is part of a $15.5 million donation to the Cleveland Clinic Neurological Institute announced last year by Charles Shor, a Cincinnati businessman and philanthropist.

He was diagnosed with epilepsy and had his first seizure at age 25.

More than three million people in the United States live with epilepsy. Current treatments are effective in controlling seizures in only 46% of adults, doctors say.

Doctors said stress has been identified as a major risk factor for recurrence of seizures and reduced memory function in patients with epilepsy.

“Almost a third of people with epilepsy have recurrent seizures despite using multiple anti-epileptic drugs,” said Dr. Imad Najm, director of the Charles Shor Epilepsy Center and vice president of strategy and development. at the Cleveland Clinic Neurological Institute. Najm will lead the study.

Researchers will measure the effects of yoga, music therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy interventions using seizure diaries, cognitive assessments, and health and quality of life questionnaires.

“Cleveland Clinic’s vision for the future of neurological care is inspiring and gives me hope,” Shor said.

He firmly believes that stress and crises are linked. Shor donated $5.5 million to help fund the study.

“By directing these resources to the extraordinary team of physicians and researchers at the Cleveland Clinic, I believe I can help make a meaningful difference for people living with these diseases,” Shor said.

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