Epilepsy is a serious and relatively common chronic neurologic disorder characterized by recurrent seizures. About 65 million people worldwide have epilepsy (0,5-1% of population). In addition, epilepsy is associated with an increased risk of various psychiatric comorbidities that can adversely affect quality of life as well as life expectancy. Comorbidities can arise due to common underlying predispositions, direct effects of seizures, underlying epilepsy etiologies, and adverse effects of anti-seizure medications and other therapies. Thus when treating epilepsy and associated psychiatric problems, ideally, treatment targeting both should be selected. In about 50% of patients epilepsy starts early in development suggesting a need for age-specific treatment. Alongside safety of anti-seizure therapy for the brain development is a major concern of pediatric neurologists. Safe and effective therapy cannot be developed without validated animal models. If used correctly, animal models offer the opportunity to explore shared pathophysiological mechanisms, therapeutic options, and consequences of both the epilepsy syndrome and a given comorbidity. In this lecture, we will explore the numerous potential factors that may confound the interpretation of emerging data from animal models. We will focus on the design of neurobehavioral tests and on the role of strain, age, sex and environmental factors in outcome of these tests.
Doc. PharmDr Hana Kubova, Ph.D., D.Sc., has been a head of the laboratory of Developmental Epileptology at the Institute of Physiology (IPHYS) of the Czech Academy of Sciences since 2000. She has been working in the field of epilepsy for almost 40 years and she has published over 160 papers in this research area (H-index 28)