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University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Publish Date: 10/17/00
Media Contact: AHC Public Relations, (513) 558-4553
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UC Researcher Earns Grant to Provide Care to Patients with Epilepsy

Cincinnati--David Ficker, MD, assistant professor of neurology and associate director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Treatment Program at the University of Cincinnati (UC) Neuroscience Institute, recently earned the prestigious Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award. The five-year grant entitled "Quality of Life in Newly Diagnosed Epilepsy and Seizures," funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will enable Ficker to provide direct patient care to study the quality of life of those who have epilepsy and seizures. The award of $664,148 is designed to support the career development of investigators who focus on patient research.

"Once we learn how patients feel about themselves or their epilepsy, we can improve our treatment strategies," Ficker said. His research focuses on how attitude, social acceptance and professional life impact the overall quality of life of patients. Ficker's reseach will measure the success of various treatments based on each patient's improvement of overall quality of life.

UC's Comprehensive Epilepsy Treatment Program has four full-time epileptologists (neurologists who specialize in epilepsy treatment) and one neurosurgeon who specializes in epilepsy surgery. The program boasts one of the most experienced epilepsy surgery teams in the world.

November is National Epilepsy Month, and an opportunity for the public to learn more about a disorder that affects 15,000 to 25,000 people in greater Cincinnati and 2.5 million Americans nationwide. A neurologic disorder characterized by recurrent seizures, the exact cause for epilepsy is known in only half of the cases. However, even in cases where the cause is unknown, treatment is still available. The Medical Center offers a comprehensive approach to epilepsy, which includes medical and surgical treatments, patient education and support services for patients and families.

Trials of several new and promising medications are now underway for patients with seizures that have not responded to medication. Ficker's research will focus on patients who have their first seizure or were recently diagnosed with epilepsy. The study will measure the quality of life through questionnaires every four months. For information regarding this study, call (513) 558-5507. For information about epilepsy and links to other epilepsy sites log on to http://www.med.uc.edu/neurology/epilepsy.htm



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