- Brain Awareness Week
Basic mechanisms of sleep-wake regulation, epilepsy and seizure-induced death; Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP)
Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is the leading cause of death in patients with intractable epilepsy, but specific mechanisms of how a seizure can cause death are poorly understood. Research efforts in my laboratory are focused on using animal models to understand the mechanisms by which a seizure can result in death. In particular we are interested in sleep state-dependent and circadian phase-dependent effects of seizures on cardiac and respiratory function and mortality. On-going research projects are aimed at understanding: normal sleep-wake regulation, mechanisms of stimulus-induced arousal from sleep, seizure susceptibility, seizure-related mortality, ictal and post-ictal cardiorespiratory function, circadian regulation and effects of sleep deprivation on seizure-related death. We employ a variety of techniques including: electroencephalographic (EEG), electromyographic (EMG), electrocardiographic (EKG) and depth electrode recordings, whole body breathing plethysmography, activity and body temperature telemetry, acute and chronic responsive sleep-deprivation, seizure/epilepsy induction techniques (maximal electroshock, amygdala kindling, pilocarpine-status epilepticus induced epileptogenesis), and reverse and forward microdialysis in live, chronically instrumented normal and transgenic mice.