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Defining Māori epilepsy burden and developing an approach for future research

33 months
Approved budget:
Dr Ngaire Keenan
Professor Lynette Sadleir
Associate Professor James Stanley
Dr Erik Andersen
Health issue:
Neurological (CNS)
Proposal type:
Clinical Research Training Fellowship
Lay summary
Epilepsy, the most common serious neurological disorder in childhood, affects ~4000 New Zealand children. Although children with epilepsy may live normal lives, 30% have uncontrolled seizures and poor outcomes. Epilepsy is 40% more common in Māori children than other ethnicities. International reports suggest that higher rates of epilepsy result from preventable causes which can be reduced with successful public health initiatives. Dr Ngaire Keenan is a Māori paediatric neurology trainee who plans to become a New Zealand clinician scientist. Her PhD aims to describe the syndromes, aetiologies, comorbidities and management of epilepsy in Māori children compared to non-Māori children. If the increased rate of epilepsy in Māori children is due to preventable causes, then culturally appropriate health strategies can be implemented to promote positive change. She will also develop strategies to identify epilepsy cohorts for future research which will ultimately aid her long-term career goal of improving childhood epilepsy outcomes.