Using Semiology to Improve Epilepsy Clinical Trials: Jacqueline French, MD


The professor of neurology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine and chief medical officer of the Epilepsy Foundation discussed the critical need to ensure the proper classification of seizures when enrolling patients in clinical trials. [WATCH TIME: 4 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 4 minutes

“We really need the investigators to pay very close attention to what the patients are telling us because the people who are working centrally on the trial are not with the patient. They cannot interview the patient. And so those investigators have to give us the correct information so that we can classify the patient properly, and figure out which seizure types are getting better and which ones are not.”

Conducting clinical trials in neurologic disease can be a challenge and doing so in epilepsy carries some of its own unique difficulties. One of the major roadblocks now, in a time where the development of antiseizure medications (ASM) is making great progress, is the correct classification of seizure types among patients enrolled in trials.

This process of clinical semiology was the focus of a talk given by Jacqueline French, MD, at the 2022 American Epilepsy Society Annual Meeting, held December 2 to 6, in Nashville, Tennessee. French, a professor of neurology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine and the chief medical officer of the Epilepsy Foundation, provided an overview of some of the modern perspectives on seizure classification and the importance of proper patient definition when it comes to enrollment in ASM trials.

In a conversation with NeurologyLive®, French further explained that one of the biggest areas of discrepancy in the information that clinicians who are interviewing patients for enrollment are providing to clinical trial investigators is in the category of tonic-clonic seizures. This seizure type carries a high risk of adverse outcomes for patients who experience them, making their proper identification crucial to ensuring ASMs targeted at treating them are effective.

Click here for more coverage of AES 2022

1. French J. Seizure Semiology: The Jacksonian March to the Present: Semiology in Clinical Trials. Presented at: AES Annual Meeting; December 2-6, 2022; Nashville, TN, and virtual. Presidential symposium.
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