George Richerson

University of Iowa – Iowa City, USA.

Department of Neurology.

LECTURE: Networks for Tonic Respiratory Drive, Chemoreception and SUDEP in Epilepsies.

Patients with refractory epilepsy have a high risk of sudden unexpected death (SUDEP). In recent years it has been discovered that many cases of SUDEP are due to respiratory arrest induced by convulsive seizures, and that the amygdala plays an important role as a pathway for forebrain activity to invade the lower brainstem.

Serotonergic mechanisms also contribute to the process, either by influencing the seizure severity or respiratory drive. It is also now clear that some cases of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) share pathophysiological mechanisms with SUDEP.

In this talk, data from animal models and human studies will be described that have helped explain the mechanisms and pathways involved in SUDEP and SIDS, how this knowledge is leading to identification of biomarkers of those at highest risk, and the potential for treatments and strategies to prevent these deaths.