Cognitive and emotional phenotypes of generalised epilepsies

Research Opportunity
PhD, Masters by Research
Project Status
Medicine and Radiology
Royal Melbourne Hospital
Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Genevieve Rayner +61 3 9035 7045 Personal web page
Dr Charles Malpas Personal web page

Project Details

The evolving understanding of epilepsy is that it is a disease that propagates along and alters brain networks; often the same brain networks that subserve cognitive or emotional processes (Rayner, Epilepsy Curr, 2017). As such, network disease in epilepsy may give rise not only to the principal problem of seizures, but also to cognitive and psychological comorbidities (Scheffer et al., Epilepsia, 2017).
Patients deemed to have a generalised epilepsy show a diversity of seizure types and pathogenic mechanisms, but all typically show generalized spike-wave activity on EEG. While there is a robust body of evidence attributing distinct profiles of cognitive deficits to different focal epilepsy syndromes, less is known about the cognitive and emotional processing of patients with generalised epilepsies. The clinical consensus seems to be that many of these patients are unimpaired by clinical standards, and so comprehensive studies of their behavioural profiles are rare. However there is growing evidence that a subset of these patients do perform worse than healthy controls in some domains (Elger et al., Lancet Neurology, 2004), although the lack of systematic data on this topic renders it unclear which patients with generalised epilepsy are most vulnerable to cognitive and emotional decrement, and if there are distinct phenotypes of cognitive and emotional decrement within this population.

The scope of this project would support both a Masters and PhD candidate. Cognitive and emotional processing will be measured using the brief iPad-based NIH Toolbox with patients recruited from multiple Comprehensive Epilepsy Programs across Melbourne, with supervision from experts in neurology and neuropsychology.

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Neuroscience & Psychiatry

Research Opportunities

PhD, Masters by Research
Graduate Research Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other Graduate Research requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

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Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.


Medicine and Radiology

Research Group / Unit / Centre

Epilepsy and Precision Medicine

Research Node

Royal Melbourne Hospital

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