My name is Heidi Grabenstatter. I am a neuroscientist, a mom, a wife, a daughter, and a patient living with epilepsy. I was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy at the age of five. In attempt to control my seizures, I have undergone two resection surgeries, I am dependent on high doses of three antiepileptic drugs and a vagal nerve stimulator, but continue to have complex partial and secondarily generalized seizures. My research focuses on potential causes and consequences of chronic epilepsy and autism. In particular, I am interested in identifying new therapeutic targets to inhibit pharmacoresistant epilepsy. As a patient-scientist in the neuroscience research community, it can be frustrating that our process of discovery often overlooks patient needs. As the numbers of patients that are affected by neurological disorders increases yearly and funding by the primary investors of medical research continues to decrease, a new source of tool/device development built upon patient perspective is needed to improve the cost and rate that effective treatments reach patients. I believe there are underexplored opportunities that lie beyond the scope of what is currently being funded, and I am confident that patients and caregivers will drive future innovations if given an opportunity to voice their needs. Neurology Patient Initiative is here to give you that voice. Please share your story or propose an idea for a future patient-driven challenge on our "contact page." Crowdsourcing patient-driven ideas will diversify the brainpower applying their talents to your product and service proposals allowing any maker, solver, or aspiring scientist to take a shot at cracking the challenges.
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