October 4th 2012 -- the Epilepsy Foundation announced a plan to merge with the Epilepsy Therapy Project. This is a big step for both of the organizations to help expand and grow together instead of competing against each other.
The Epilepsy Therapy Project has been a major player in the development of therapies for those who live with epilepsy. The Epilepsy Therapy Project has developed the furthest reaching web site, epilepsy.com, for professionals and consumers. “As one foundation, we have the opportunity to build an exceptional and highly focused organization ‐ with the capability and expertise to make enormous strides in education, funding and the acceleration of new therapies.” Said Brien Smith, M.D., Chairman, Epilepsy Foundation.
I had the opportunity to talk with Kenneth Lowenberg, Senior Director of Communications, Epilepsy Foundation. His excitement about the merge was quiet obvious. He told me that raising the awareness of epilepsy is one of their main goals. He spoke about the report released by the Institute of Medicine this year showing the 1 in every 26 Americans will develop epilepsy in their life. “That number is actually likely to get higher as more and more of our returning war heroes are coming home with traumatic brain injuries. These types of injuries have a high chance of causing epilepsy within a few years of their occurrence. So clearly, we are focused on that and working closely with the Veterans Administration Medical Centers to make sure early detection and risk factors are evaluated.” Kenneth said.
Along with awareness to the public about epilepsy the Foundation will be focusing on the need for more governmental, industry and philanthropic dollars toward improving and accelerating new therapies and treatments for people with epilepsy.
Epilepsy affects over 2 million Americans and this year another 200,000 individuals in the U.S. will be diagnosed with epilepsy. About one-third of the individuals will continue to have seizures even though there are treatments available. The Epilepsy Foundation and the Epilepsy Therapy Project coming together will be a big, positive, step for epilepsy. Epilepsy is the most misunderstood and dramatically under-supported condition -- to improve research and public consciousness will help to end discrimination and isolation of people living with epilepsy