Expert: Conditions in Which Trauma Affects the Body Have Some Genetic Contribution

Contemporary Clinic Staff

Lea Davis, PhD, of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Vanderbilt Genetics Institute, discusses the importance of identifying the biological correlates to developing functional seizures.

Contemporary Clinic® interviewed Lea Davis, PhD, an associate professor of medicine in the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and an investigator in the Vanderbilt Genetics Institute, on a study she co-authored that was published in JAMA Network Open on the epidemiology of functional seizures among adults treated at a university hospital.

Alana Hippensteele: Are there any other future research opportunities your team is investigating in light of these findings?

Lea Davis: Yeah, definitely. So, the next thing that we're working on now is a genome-wide association study. So, we're basically looking to understand what the biological correlates to developing functional seizures are.

So, despite knowing what some of these risk factors are, we also know that there are people who experience trauma, there are people who experience sexual assault, who don't go on to develop functional seizure conditions, and some of the related conditions. So, some of the other conversion disorders or conditions in which trauma affects the body basically have been shown to have some genetic contribution, and as geneticists, we were also very interested to understand if functional seizures have some genetic contribution, and if they do, that can help us to be able to begin to identify some targets potentially for medication that could help these patients. Right now, there are no medications that are clinically approved or even particularly useful in this patient population.

Related Content