Epstein Laboratory

Dr. Epstein's laboratory is engaged in the study of the impact of viral infections on the developing nervous system. Currently we are investigating the role of Human Herpesvirus 6 and 7 (HHV-6 and HHV-7) as potential causes of hippocampal injury during febrile status epilpepticus (FSE). Dr. Epstein is a co-investigator and the study neurovirologist for the five year National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke (NINDS) funded multicenter longitudinal FEBSTAT study of 200 children with FSE. To date we have found that HHV-6B is the most common cause of FSE in children accounting for nearly 25% of the infants that present with FSE. This longitudinal study will allow us to determine if FSE caused by HHV-6B or HHV-7 is more likely to result in mesial temporal sclerosis and temporal lobe seizures. Intractable temporal lobe seizures are the most common reason for epilepsy surgery in adolescents and young adults. If HHV-6B or HHV-7 prove to be responsible for hippocampal damage it is possible that the injury could be prevented by treatment with anti-viral or anti-inflammatory medications at the time of presentation with FSE.