American Epilepsy Society Calls on Congress to Reject Proposed Research, Prevention Program Funding Cuts Outlined in President Trump's FY 2018 Proposed Budget

CHICAGO, May 30, 2017 – The American Epilepsy Society (AES) is deeply concerned and urges Congress to reject recent proposed research and prevention program funding cuts for epilepsy, a disease that one in 26 people will develop in their lifetime. Funding for epilepsy research was already severely limited despite the fact that it is the second leading cause of death from a neurological condition and affects more people in the U.S. than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson's disease combined.

The proposed cuts are outlined as part of President Trump's fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget and will negatively impact all health research initiatives, with the total request for the National Institutes of Health cut by more than $5.8 billion. Specific cuts affecting epilepsy research include a $336 million reduction for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and elimination of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's $8 million Epilepsy program which supported national organizations and researchers in efforts to develop and share public education programs and campaigns that raise awareness of epilepsy and provide services for people with the disease. The proposal also will eliminate funding for the Prevention Research Center (PRC) program which works with academic institutions to conduct research and disseminate prevention interventions. PRC is a significant source of funding for the Managing Epilepsy Well Network that promotes epilepsy self-management research and improves the quality of life for people with epilepsy.

"We already face significant challenges in securing research funding for epilepsy, which lags behind other neurological diseases and medical research in general," said Eli M. Mizrahi, M.D., president of the American Epilepsy Society. "The proposed cuts will drastically affect our ability to advance the science that can help prevent and cure the disease, especially for the estimated one-third of patients who currently don't respond to treatments. We urge Congress to reject the proposed budget and provide adequate funding for all health research initiatives especially epilepsy, which can cause increased risk of seizures, brain damage or injury, disability and even early death if not treated properly."

Epilepsy costs $15.5 billion every year in the United States in medical costs and lost or reduced earnings and production. AES believes continued investment in research to improve treatment and prevention efforts, as well as in public education to encourage early diagnosis and treatment and improved self-management not only directly improves the lives of people with epilepsy but reduces healthcare costs overall.

About the American Epilepsy Society
Founded in 1946, the American Epilepsy Society (AES) is a medical and scientific society whose members are dedicated to advancing research and education for preventing, treating and curing epilepsy. AES is an inclusive global forum where professionals from academia, private practice, not-for-profit, government, and industry can learn, share and grow to eradicate epilepsy and its consequences.

For more information, visit the American Epilepsy Society online at aesnet.org.

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