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Jefferson researcher awarded NIH grant

PHILADELPHIA Scott Mintzer, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Neurology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, and director of the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit at the Jefferson Comprehensive Epilepsy Center of Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience was recently awarded a Junior Investigator grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the adverse metabolic effects of antiepileptic seizure medications. The K23 grant, also known as the Mentored Patient-oriented Research Career Development Award, totals $843,000 and will be dispersed over a five-year period.

The K23 award is to support the career development of investigators who have made a commitment to focus their endeavors on patient-oriented research. This mechanism provides support for three to five years of supervised study and research for clinically trained professionals who have the potential to develop into productive, clinical investigators focusing on patient-oriented research.

"I am honored to have been chosen to receive such a prestigious grant," said Dr. Mintzer. "It's my hope that this research into the possible cardiovascular side effects of anti-seizure medications may help doctors manage the care of patients with seizures more effectively while not adversely affecting other aspects of their overall health."

The grant involves two randomized patient studies designed to ascertain the metabolic effects of common anti-seizure medications on risk factors for heart attack and stroke including cholesterol and C-reactive protein levels. The first study includes 90 patients with epilepsy, who will be followed over several months, to look at whether changes in seizure medication can improve cholesterol and other blood chemical levels on a short-term and long-term basis.

The second study follows 200 patients who have had a subarachnoid hemorrhage, or bleeding in the lining that surrounds the brain. Traditionally this patient population is prescribed anti-seizure medications for a certain period of time following treatment. Trial participants will be randomly broken into four groups and prescribed either Dilantin, Keppra, Depakote or no medication to see if there are any potential short- or long-term effects on cardiovascular risk factors.


Contact: Ed Federico
Thomas Jefferson University

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