Epilepsy – Sudden Unexplained Death of Epilepsy (SUDEP)

Sudden unexplained death is thought to be responsible for up to 18% of all deaths in patients with epilepsy. It is thought to be caused by epileptic seizures triggering either cardiac or respiratory arrest. The Ramirez laboratory has expertise in characterizing epilepsy and respiratory activity. The knowledge gained in understanding the mechanisms that lead to SIDS will be applied to better understand SUDEP as well as Sudden Unexplained  Death of Childhood (SUDC). This effort will be performed in collaboration with Dr. Franck Kalume. One specific project focuses on sodium channel mutations that cause seizures in the neocortex, but that are also critical for the generation of gasping and the arousal response. We hypothesize that mutations in these ion channels will not only cause epilepsy, but will also impair the responsiveness of the respiratory network to the sudden apnea.  (See Respiratory, Autonomic, and Sleep section for further description of this project)

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