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Clocks going back could help epilepsy patients, says expert

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The extra hour of morning light gained as the clocks go back today could make all the difference to patients with epilepsy.

Dr Sallie Baxendale, a neuropsychologist at the National Society for Epilepsy (NSE), found that epileptic seizures, particularly complex partial seizures are less likely to occur on bright sunny days than dull days with fewer hours of sunshine.

Now, with funding from Action Medical Research, a new clinical trial will begin to assess how patients with difficult to control seizures respond to light box treatment.

Dr Baxendale said: “I’m thrilled that we can continue our work and carry out a clinical trial of light therapy for people with epilepsy. We will be looking to recruit 100 patients for the first phase of the study which will begin in 2010.“

”More work is needed to refine the relationship between sunlight and seizure patterns. Sunlight is important in the body’s production and regulation of melatonin and vitamin D, both of which may influence seizure thresholds. It will be intriguing to explore the possibility of light box treatment for some patients with hard to treat seizures.”

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