Sandra PettySandra Petty

Recipient of the 2009 Molly McDonnell Foundation Scholarship

Department of Medicine, Royal Melbourne Hospital, The University of Melbourne

Patients with epilepsy have twice the fracture rate of the general population, most likely due to bone disease, and increased falls. For patients, controlling the seizures is very important, and many are required to take long-term therapy with anti-epileptic medication. As well as being exposed to the benefits of treatment, some patients experience side effects.

Additionally, anti-epileptic medications are increasingly prescribed for indications other than epilepsy, including headache, chronic pain and mood disorders. The association of bone disease with epilepsy and anti-epileptic medication use is now well-known, however the exact bone pathology, and mechanism for this requires further investigation.

I am currently in the final stages of my PhD studies, a clinical research project examining associations of anti-epileptic medication with bone health, falls, fractures and cardiovascular risk. My research will extend this work in the laboratory by examining bone cells treated with anti-epileptic medications, examining for a novel mechanism by which these medications may be associated with bone fragility.

Sandra Petty

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