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Prodrome Recognition in Epilepsy and its Neurophysiological Correlates (PRESENCE)

Epilepsy is a complex neurological condition that affects about 1% of the global population. It is characterised by an enduring predisposition to epileptic seizures, and physical, cognitive, psychological, and social co-morbidities. One third of people diagnosed with epilepsy continues to have seizures despite treatment with anti-seizure medication. Epilepsy is paroxysmal; seizures are only present a fraction of the time, but their unpredictability causes high levels of anxiety. As a result, people with epilepsy report poor quality of life, depression, and social stigma. Despite continuous research efforts in the past 30 years, it is impossible to reliably predict when a seizure will occur. Novel approaches to predict seizures and deal with seizure-induced anxiety are urgently needed. It was suggested in some studies that people with epilepsy can learn to recognise seizure precursory signs, leading to a greater sense of control and less anxiety. In the current study, we aim to develop a specific training for people with epilepsy based on a combination of mindfulness and interviews (microphenomenology) to improve seizure awareness and reduce seizure-related anxiety. We will explore whether such training and first-person data can improve seizure prediction algorithms. This study will shed light on the complex relationship between conscious experience and the brain.

Project management:

Prisca Bauer, M.D., PhD



Berta Ottenstein Programm für Clinician Scientists (2020-2022)

European Varela Award (2021-2022)