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Frances Jensen on 60 Minutes: Why funding epilepsy research is important

Last night, Frances Jensen, MD, senior associate in Neurology, was featured in a piece on 60 Minutes about the prevalence of epilepsy and the importance of funding research into its cure. Watch the piece here, then keep reading below as Jensen describes how epilepsy is often overlooked as a public health problem and how researchers like her are trying to stop it in its tracks. Also watch below as Jensen shows Katie Couric what an epilepsy looks like from a molecular perspective.


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By Frances Jensen, MD

Last night, research by myself and my team was featured on 60 Minutes in a wonderful story about the impact that epilepsy has on the people with it and the challenges of getting the public – including the agencies that fund research – to pay the disease the attention it deserves.

I was excited to be part of this story because raising awareness about epilepsy is important on several fronts. Despite this disease being the third most common brain disorder (after stroke and dementia), the public, and even some health care providers, have little knowledge about it. Epilepsy is defined as repeated seizures, and this can happen at any point in a person’s lifetime due to an inherited condition, an illness or a brain injury of any kind. Seizures are due to out-of-control brain cell activity in a part(or even the whole) brain. Medications, and in severe cases even surgery, are needed to dampen this over-activity in order to prevent more seizures.

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