Epilepsy

PI:
G. Hoogland, PhD

Phd-students:
M. Aalbers, BSc
N. Gosens, MD
K. Rijkers, MD
O. Schijns, MD
A. Swijsen, BSc

Other:
M. Philippens (technician)

Research interests:
The Epilepsy Research Group aims at translational epilepsy research by organizing its projects around three central themes, i.e., epileptogenesis, diagnostic, and treatment.
Febrile seizures are convulsions brought on by fever in infants and small children. Although the absolute risk remains very small, certain children who have febrile seizures face an increased risk of developing epilepsy. The epileptogenesis research studies long-term effects of experimental febrile seizures. Examples of this line are a neurogenesis study, in which we observed an increased survival of dentate granule cells that are born immediately after these seizures (Lemmens et al., Epilepsia 2005). The surviving cells have a neuronal phenotype, though less of these neurons are expressing glutamate transporters (Lemmens et al., Epilepsia 2008). By applying the same model to a combined serial MRI and histology study we recently obtained specific, quantitative MR modalities that show febrile seizure-induced microstructural changes in the limbic system (Jansen et al., Neurobiol. Dis. 2008). In addition to these molecular and cellular changes, we also observed a subtle behavioural difference 4 months after experimental febrile seizures (Lemmens et al., Epilepsy Behav. 2009).
The diagnostic research aims at improving the selection of candidates that may benefit from neurosurgical treatment. This topic is currently addressed in two projects, one in which we focus on molecular imaging of focal epilepsy (Verbeek et al., 17th International Symposium on  Radiopharmaceutical Sciences, Aachen, Germany 2007), and one in which we aim at early detection of pharmaco-resistance by metabolic screening (see call traineeships). Finally, accumulating evidence suggests that neuromodulation by electric currents can be a treatment option for epilepsy patients.  However, the efficacy of this therapy is variable and neuromodulation targets and parameters are not fully explored yet. The treatment research explores mechanisms by which vagus nerve stimulation may exert its antiepileptic effect(see Kootstra fellowship).

The Epilepsy Research Group participates in the  Maastricht Institute for Neuromodulative Development  (MIND) which is headed by prof. V. Visser-Vandewalle, MD, PhD.


Recent publications


Collaborations
A. Aldenkamp, PhD      
Epilepsy Center Kempenhaeghe, Heeze, the Netherlands

M. de Baets, MD, PhD           
Mental Health and Neurosciences, Maastricht University Medical Center

K. Herscheid, PhD           
Radionuclide Center, Free University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

M. van Kroonenburgh, MD, PhD       
Nuclear medicine, Maastricht University Medical Center

M. Majoie, MD, PhD      
Epilepsy Center Kempenhaeghe, Heeze, the Netherlands

J-M. Rigo, PhD               
Hasselt University, Diepenbeek, Belgium

A. Vezzani, PhD               
Mario Negri, Milan, Italy

J. Vles, MD, PhD               
Neurology, Maastricht University Medical Center