Epilepsy

A human brain, in a blue hue

Epilepsy is among the most perplexing and prevalent of all chronic illnesses. More than 2.3 million Americans suffer from epilepsy, and some 150,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. The annual direct and indirect costs of epilepsy exceed $15 billion in the U.S. alone, but despite decades of research focused on epilepsy's genetic origins and expectations for a single cure, major advances have been few -- a full 30 percent of epilepsy cases are unresponsive to treatment.

Tufts University School of Medicine has emerged as a leader in the field of epilepsy research, with a signature approach and concentrated expertise. More than 60 percent of our neuroscience faculty are engaged in research that considers the disease's triggers, causes, and consequences. As home to one of the top ranked neuroscience and neurobiology programs in the country, Tufts offers these investigators world-class resources and a richly collaborative environment, where innovation in one lab often leads to invaluable insights in others -- helping speed the pace of research and discovery.

We believe answers to treating epilepsy and minimizing its many symptoms and side effects can be found in studying the space and the activity between brain cells, a field of research called synaptic biology. Our advanced imaging systems combined with this expertise in synapse transmission are helping us to identify the "misfires" between neurons caused by disease and injury. This knowledge will lead us to more effective, personalized treatments and better quality of life for people living with epilepsy.

Why Tufts?

  • Tufts is investing unparalleled resources in epilepsy research, with more than 60 percent of its neuroscience faculty directly focused on this disease, plus others looking at related concerns.
  • Our researchers are studying epilepsy as a spectrum disorder -- a new approach that has advanced our understanding of the disease and will refine treatment strategies.
  • Minimizing epileptic seizures is a paramount goal, and we are collaborating with companies to identify compounds for new, more effective seizure-controlling medications.
  • Tufts faculty members formed ENGAGE (New ENGland Area Group on Epilepsy) to bring together the local community of epilepsy researchers and clinicians from many fields. By sharing ideas and resources, we will move more quickly toward the answers we need.
  • In 2012, CURE (Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy) awarded two of only four prestigious Innovator Awards to Tufts faculty members, Steve Moss and Phil Haydon, for their pioneering work.
  • Our faculty are published in the leading journals, including Neuron, Nature Neuroscience, and The Journal of Neuroscience.

Read about our Principal Faculty in Epilepsy.


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