Currently Funded Epidemiologic Research Projects

Doctor Examining Brain Images, Only Pen in Shown

The CDC Epilepsy Program supports studies that examine the epidemiology of epilepsy. Learn more about currently funded work below.

Building Capacity to Describe Epilepsy with Data From Underused National, State, and County Sources

Policy makers and health care providers need comprehensive information to plan prevention programs and appropriate care and services for people with epilepsy. This information includes epidemiologic studies that describe the occurrence and burden of epilepsy (e.g., prevalence, comorbidity, quality of life, health care use, mortality, and related outcomes) in the general population.

Although national and state data from such studies are available in public databases, these sources are rarely used in epilepsy research or programs.

Data sources that are currently underused in epilepsy research and programs include:

  • Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS)
  • Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP)
  • National Inpatient Sample
  • State emergency department databases
  • State and county agencies that collect statistics, including vital records offices, mental health and substance abuse programs, and justice systems.

These data sources can be used to:

  • Assess epilepsy prevalence in subgroups, including people with rare epilepsy syndromes or people living in institutions.
  • Identify, track, and analyze national, state, and multistate trends in health care use, access, charges, and quality and other outcomes of concern to public health.
  • Prioritize program planning on epilepsy.

Funded Project: Emory University

Emory University will use data from multiple sources, including MEPS, HCUP, all-payer inpatient and emergency room discharge data, all-payer claims data, and Minimum Data Set nursing home data to examine:

  • Health care use and costs that can be attributed to epilepsy.
  • Quality of life.
  • Prevalence of epilepsy among nursing home residents.
  • State- or county-level health care utilization estimates.
Epilepsy Incidence and Etiology: Important Information for Public Health Prevention and Health Promotion in the United States

Public health and health care professionals need to understand the incidence and causes of epilepsy to plan prevention programs. The first goal of this study is to use recent administrative claims and other data from geographically defined populations, as well as standardized definitions and methods, to assess and update estimates of epilepsy incidence across the United States. The second goal is to explore social determinants of epilepsy, including risk factors and protective factors that affect incidence.

Funded Project: The University of Alabama at Birmingham

The University of Alabama at Birmingham will identify patterns of medical and social risks and protective factors for epilepsy onset among older adults. Researchers will use a large database that combines Medicare administrative claims data for a cohort of 5 million older adults (2016–2019) and the 2016 wave of the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP), appended with data from the American Community Survey.