Participants needed for epilepsy trial


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Participants needed for epilepsy trial

Cardiff University’s Fluoxetine, Learning and Memory in Epilepsy (FLAME) team invites people with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) to take part in a research study.

The trial explores a potential treatment to improve learning and memory difficulties in people affected by TLE, a common problem for individuals living with this condition.

There are currently no treatments available to combat learning and memory issues in TLE. We know that new brain cells are constantly being formed (neurogenesis) in the brain’s hippocampus, which is important for learning and memory. We also know that there is less neurogenesis in people with severe TLE, which may help to explain some of the difficulties patients report.

Research aims

Previous research has shown that a widely used medicine called fluoxetine can restore the production of new cells in the brain. It can also restore the ability to learn a difficult learning task in an animal model of temporal lobe epilepsy that shows the same patterns of learning and memory problems seen in people with TLE.

FLAME is examining whether fluoxetine can improve learning and memory in a similar way in patients with TLE.

Between now and February 2018, the FLAME team aims to recruit up to 20 patients with TLE to participate in this trial. Interested volunteers will be invited to attend the University Hospital of Wales (UHW) for an initial eligibility assessment, which will involve a blood test, questionnaires and an MRI scan. Suitable participants will then be invited to complete a series of learning and memory tasks at Cardiff University both before and after a two-month course of fluoxetine treatment.

The team would like to hear from anyone (aged 18-65) with a TLE diagnosis who is willing to travel to Cardiff to complete a series of learning and memory assessments (travel expenses paid).

“There are currently no effective treatment options available for memory and learning problems in patients with TLE,” said Dr Mark Postans, Research Associate at Cardiff University’s Neurosciences and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI).

“By testing the clinical effectiveness of a cheap, widely available and well-tolerated drug to combat these issues, FLAME addresses an important unmet clinical need and may one day help those living with this form of epilepsy.”


FLAME is funded by Epilepsy Research UKand the BRAIN Unit, and led by the project’s Chief Investigator, Professor William Gray. The study received ethical approval from Cardiff University, Wales NHS Research Ethics Committee 3, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Research and Development Office of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.

Anyone interested can contact the FLAME trial team to discuss the trial or request an information booklet by email or call 02920 688 590.