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Curr Opin Neurol. 2008 Apr;21(2):150-4. doi: 10.1097/WCO.0b013e3282f4edc3.

Progress in epilepsy: reducing the treatment gap and the promise of biomarkers.

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Department of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California 90095-1769, USA.



Since the antiquities, the history of epilepsy has been characterized by ignorance and human suffering. People with epilepsy have benefited substantially from results of modern basic and clinical research; however, serious challenges remain. Two programs begun in the past decade offer the promise of even greater progress in the future.


The International League against Epilepsy, the International Bureau for Epilepsy and the WHO launched the Global Campaign against Epilepsy in 1997, which is using socioepidemiologic approaches to reduce the treatment gap and improve quality of life for people with epilepsy in the developing world. The US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the American Epilepsy Society began a national neurobiological effort to move from targeting control of symptoms to strategies of prevention and cure, and in 2001 established benchmarks for future epilepsy research. The first of these benchmarks is to develop reliable biomarkers of epileptogenesis and epileptogenicity that could revolutionize our approach to diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and cure.


Epilepsy continues to be a major health burden worldwide. The Global Campaign against Epilepsy is leading the way towards universal acceptability of epilepsy and access to medical care. Among the many current neurobiological research objectives, development of reliable epilepsy biomarkers would be a major step toward realizing a world where no one is compromised by epilepsy.

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