In October 2009 the Trust announced a partnership with Edinburgh University College of Medicine to establish the Muir Maxwell Epilepsy Centre and on the 19 February 2013 the centre was officially opened by HRH The Princess Royal. The Centre forms part of the University's Neuroscience Medical Services, alongside the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic, the Euan McDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Research and the Patrick Wilde Centre for Research into Autism, Fragile X Syndrome and Intellectual Disabilities.
At the head of the Muir Maxwell Epilepsy Centre is Dr Richard Chin who is also a Senior Lecturer in Paediatric Neurosciences at the University of Edinburgh, subspecialising in epilepsy at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh. Richard studied medicine at the University of West Indies, Jamaica and was then awarded a Commonwealth Fellowship at the Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital, London. Richard obtained his PhD from UCL, held an NIHR Clinical Lectureship, obtained several prestigious prizes for research and obtained grant funding from the MRC, the Welcome Trust, the Academy of Medical Sciences the BUPA Foundation, the National Institute for Health Research and the Wolfson Foundation.
Richard's research programme, which is centred on the clinical epidemiological aspects of epilepsy, is inherently collaborative. He has existing national and international collaborations with colleagues in neurosciences, neuroimaging, genetics, neuropsychology, education, public health, social sciences and epidemiology.
"I strongly believe that carrying out high quality epilepsy research and translating findings into clinical practice requires interdisciplinary work - from basic sciences to the bedside to general populations - that is, an approach of 'Neurons to Neighbourhoods.' My desire to move to Edinburgh was not because of the similarity of its weather to that of Jamaica's! Rather it was the unique opportunity to revolutionise research and clinical care in epilepsy on an unprecedented population-based level in the UK, through collaboration with world-class researchers at the University of Edinburgh and utilisation of Scotland's unique collective strengths.
These include: a well established Managed Clinical Network for paediatric epilepsy, electronic medical records, linkage of routine administration records with medical records and developing and implementing innovative public health strategies.
My appointment would not have been possible without the partnership between the University of Edinburgh and the Muir Maxwell Trust, undoubtedly the most significant children's charity raising funds for research and improved care for children and their families affected by epilepsy. Through their own experience in dealing with Muir's severe epilepsy, Ann and Jonny Maxwell recognised the lack of support in the UK for children with epilepsy and their carers. In response, they established the Muir Maxwell Trust in 2003. Since then, the sterling work of the Trust has had a major impact on the lives of many families of children with epilepsy. In a major step forward, the Trust has generously pledged to raise £1 million to help establish the Muir Maxwell Epilepsy Centre at the University of Edinburgh.
An estimated 70,000 children in the UK are affected by epilepsy which has long-term implications in childhood and beyond. In 70% of affected children the causes for their epilepsy remain unknown, 50% can have learning/behavioural problems which can be unrecognised/mismanaged although it is frequently the major concern of affected families, and in 25% their seizures are resistant to current therapies.
At the Muir Maxwell Epilepsy Centre - a multidisciplinary research 'centre without walls' - we will address these three key areas, through collaborative work between world-class scientists and clinical researchers at the University and beyond, including;
i) early life exposures and effects on epilepsy
ii) psychosocial aspects of epilepsy and
iii) improved epilepsy treatments"
Dr Richard Chin
Head of Muir Maxwell Epilepsy Centre
We are pleased to announce the appointment of two PhD students at the Muir Maxwell Epilepsy Centre. Their work will focus initially on two studies, the first looking at the cognitive and behavioural impairments in preschool children trying to identify the frequency, spectrum and risk factors and the second looking at the effect of epilepsy on families which will include a look at their experience in Section 23 & 24 of the Children's Act Scotland 1995
We are extremely excited about the expansion of the MMEC team and our plan to address quality of life issues for children struggling with epilepsy and their families.