Chapter

Why—and How—Do We Approach Basic Epilepsy Research?

Philip A. Schwartzkroin

in Jasper's Basic Mechanisms of the Epilepsies

Fourth edition

Published on behalf of ©Jeffrey L. Noebels, Massimo Avoli, Michael A. Rogawski, Richard W. Olsen, and Antonio V. Delgado-Escueta

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199746545
Published online April 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199322817 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199746545.003.0003

Series: Contemporary Neurology Series

Why—and How—Do We Approach Basic Epilepsy Research?

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Given how blurred this basic-clinical distinction is, it has become increasingly important for basic scientists to break down the basic-clinical separation, and particularly to give up the idea that clinical research is somehow inferior—lacking, perhaps, the rigor or the insights associated with laboratory work. There is, however, an important aspect of research that often (not always) separates basic from clinical studies—the availability of normal control groups. One of the major advantages of laboratory work—aside from enabling the researcher to apply invasive approaches that would not be ethically appropriate in human subjects—is the possibility of separating variables of interest and therefore creating control groups that differ only in the variable of interest. This laboratory advantage provides the basic scientist with an especially powerful (but narrow) means of drawing strong conclusions from his or her work. It is important to recognize, however, that depending on the goal of the study, isolation of single variables may not provide answers that are of clinical value, since real-life pathologies rarely appear to be dependent on single variables.

Chapter.  8766 words. 

Subjects: Neurology

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