First Gene

First Gene

The article by Cousins (Science, 2008) explains the long and mysterious history of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). This tragedy strikes up to 15% of young people with seizure disorders.

The first gene for SUDEP was discovered in the Blue Bird Laboratory and published in the journal Science Translational Medicine in 2009. A defect in the gene that encodes a potassium channel leads to seizures in the brain and potentially fatal irregular heart rhythms.