2 Oct 2020

29 Oct Public lecture on epilepsy by Prof Terry O'Brien

Professor Terry O'Brien in The Alfred's Video EEG monitoring
 (VEM) suite
Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy: How translational research is finding answers 

You are invited to attend the annual CCS public lecture. In 2020, the lecture will be presented by Professor Terry O'Brien, Head of Central Clinical School, on epilepsy. Register here


  • Speaker: Professor Terry O'Brien 
  • Date: Thursday 29 October 2020 
  • Time: 6.00 pm-7.00 pm. 45 minute lecture will be followed by 15 minute Q&A session moderated by Professor Stephen Jane 
  • Register for Zoom presentation. The presentation will be recorded. 
  • Cost: Free 
  • Enquiries: Julia Veitch 
  • E: julia.veitch@monash.edu T +61 3 99030026 | M 0438 856 481

About the topic

Epilepsy is a lifelong neurological condition estimated to affect over 65 million people worldwide, with approximately 150,000 Australians living with active epilepsy. It is not widely appreciated that Epilepsy is a potentially life threatening disorder, with a standardised mortality of >3 times that of the general population. The most common epilepsy-related cause of premature mortality is Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP), which is the sudden, unexpected, non-traumatic and non-drowning death in a person with epilepsy, with or without evidence for a seizure in whom another cause is not found. It is estimated that 50-100 Australians each year die from SUDEP. SUDEP often occurs in young, otherwise healthy individuals, and with people with epilepsy having up to 40 times greater risk of dying suddenly compared with aged-matched controls without epilepsy.

The mechanisms underlying SUDEP have increasingly been the focus of our research, to understand how uncontrolled seizures result in a disturbance of cardiorespiratory function which can cause sudden death. Evidence-based intervention strategies to reduce the risk of SUDEP in people with epilepsy are now being developed and implemented, but more research is needed to prevent this devasting consequence for people with epilepsy, and their families.

About our speaker

Professor Terry O'Brien is Head of Monash University's Central Clinical School and Program Director Alfred Brain and Deputy Director of Research, Alfred Health. He is a specialist in neurology and clinical pharmacology, with particular expertise in epilepsy and neurodegenerative diseases, neuropharmacology, pre-clinical and clinical drug development, and in-vivo imaging in animal models and humans. Professor O'Brien leads a large translational research team undertaking both basic studies and clinical studies focused on developing improved treatments and biomarkers for people with epilepsy and related brain diseases, including traumatic brain injury, dementias and brain tumours. He has published >495 peer-reviewed original papers in leading scientific and medical journals which have been cited >20,000 times (H-Index 75).

From Julia Veitch, CCS blog editor:

Did you know ...
That 23 October is SUDEP Action Day?
No, I didn't know either before finding out just how many advocacy and consumer support groups for epilepsy in general and SUDEP in particular there are around the world. One woman wrote in response to the lecture notification, "Thank you so much for pushing out education on this very important topic. Having lost my own child ... this is so very important to discuss and educate others."

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