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.

Studying Reasons for Referral Delays

Case Western Reserve University and Dartmouth College

Many people with epilepsy, especially people with uncontrolled seizures, do not see a neurologist or epilepsy specialist for many years after their epilepsy diagnosis. As a result, these people may not get the right diagnosis or treatment. This delay in getting the right diagnosis and treatment can result in continued seizures, limitations in daily activities such as working or going to school, disability, and early death. It is unclear why patients with seizures are not referred to neurologists or epilepsy specialists sooner.

Case Western Reserve University will partner with Dartmouth College to determine when, how fast, and why people with epilepsy are referred for neurological specialty care.

The two teams will work together and use the same study methods to understand care patterns better. Findings from this study can lead to better and timelier diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy.

Case Western Reserve University

The team at Case Western Reserve University will use Medicaid claims data from 17 states to examine:

  • Clinical variables (e.g., new prescriptions, changes in diagnosis, comorbidity).
  • Sociodemographic variables (e.g., age, race, insurance).

Dartmouth College

The Dartmouth team will use their large electronic health record system from the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Epilepsy Center to examine:

  • The same clinical and sociodemographic variables as Case Western Reserve University.
  • The findings from the Medicaid claims data examined by Case Western Reserve University and confirm them.
  • Additional relationships between clinical variables not typically available in claims data, but available in electronic health records.
Studying Rare Epilepsies in New York City: Using Text Processing of Clinical Notes in Electronic Health Records to Improve Surveillance

Weill Medical College of Cornell University

The goal of this study is to apply text processing (a method to scan for words) in electronic health records from several medical centers in New York City to improve surveillance and epidemiology of rare epilepsies. Rare forms of epilepsy usually involve very difficult to control seizures in children.

Researchers will describe the incidence, prevalence, comorbidities, mortality, and quality of care for individuals with rare epilepsies. The study findings will help centers identify rare epilepsies to support surveillance, research, quality improvement, care management, and referral of patients with rare epilepsies to advocacy organizations.