Advanced epilepsy care now open in South Australia

20 Feb 2023
Advanced epilepsy care now open in South Australia

Please note: This project is no longer operating through SAHMRI as of Feb 22nd, 2024.

Access to advanced diagnostics for people living with epilepsy in South Australia will become a reality as SAHMRI – the state’s independent not-for-profit health and medical research institute – joins the Australian Epilepsy Project (AEP) network.

The AEP, a research project at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, is developing a network of hubs throughout Australia, giving access to advanced MRI scans, genetic analysis, and cognitive testing. The project is currently accepting neurologist referrals for people aged 18-65 who have:

  • Been newly diagnosed with epilepsy
  • Experienced their first unprovoked seizure
  • Have pharmacoresistant focal epilepsy

Professor Graeme Jackson, the AEP’s Chief Investigator, says the ultimate aim of the project is to improve the standard of care and change the lives of people with epilepsy.

“Epilepsy is a life-long disease, and we need life-long solutions,” says Professor Jackson.

“Using algorithms, imaging and rich data we can extract insights to predict patterns in epilepsy and create individualised treatment plans for patients. This is an exciting new standard of care that we’ll be able to offer people living with epilepsy.”

Now, people in South Australia, as well as Victoria, will be able to start their AEP journey via telehealth and attend a local hub for an in-person MRI scan – all free of charge. Referrals from Queensland and New South Wales are set to open from mid-2023.

“Enabling Adelaide’s medical research sector to engage with national initiatives like the AEP is a key reason that SAHMRI’s Clinical Trials Platform exists. We’re proud to be able to help at all stages of the project’s SA-based activities, from coordinating patient enrolment to making connections for diagnostic testing at facilities like the SAHMRI-based Clinical Research Imaging Centre.” says Karen Best, Director, SAHMRI Clinical Trials Platform.

The AEP received a $30 million grant in 2021 – the largest single government investment in epilepsy - from the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund.

“All Australians should have access to optimal treatment for epilepsy. The AEP democratises access and expertise that is currently confined to a few specialist centres, expanding the offering to the population at large,” Professor Jackson added.

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