Epilepsy is a disorder in which a temporary disturbance occurs in the electrical transmission of signals in the brain. This often causes epileptic attacks of various kinds. Epilepsy has a number of different causes. ZonMw is funding research into pharmaceutical and other treatments of epilepsy, but also into living with epilepsy (or with someone who suffers from it).


The search for treatment methods for epilepsy is a difficult one. Many patients continue to suffer epileptic attacks despite existing treatment options. ZonMw funds researchers who are trying to improve the success percentage of brain operations in epilepsy by making use of computer models of the brain or by focusing on genetics. Research is also being done into the precision irradiation of patients with chronic epilepsy.

Medicinal cannabis to treat epilepsy in children

Within the Good Use of Medicines programme, research has begun into medicinal cannabis as a treatment of epilepsy in children. Its aim is to examine whether medicinal cannabis reduces the frequency and/or severity of epileptic attacks in children with therapy-resistant epilepsy.

Living with epilepsy

Living with epilepsy (or with someone who suffers from it) makes considerable demands of the affected person and their surroundings. An epileptic attack can have deep impact. ZonMw is funding liveability research varying from self-management courses to the efficacy of employing a service dog. Sensors are also under development with which parents or partners can be alerted of an impending attack.