Tag Archives: epilepsy

Episode 26: The Road to Newborn Screening in TSC



In Episode 26 of TSC Now, host Dan Klein takes a deep dive into one of the newer and exciting frontiers in TSC research: Newborn Screening. Last Fall, the TSC Alliance hosted an Innovation Workshop that brought together TSC researchers, newborn screening experts and other nonprofits with experience advocating for other diseases to be included in the newborn screening panel to start to set the road map forward. From that meeting the TSC Alliance put a call out to our community for dried blood spots from infants with TSC in certain states to help eventually validate an assay and earlier this month we put out a call for proposals to fund research to start developing that assay. To understand where we need to go and what will be necessary to get tuberous sclerosis complex added to the recommended uniform screening panel (RUSP), Dan spoke to two people who helped organize the Innovation Workshop.

First, Dan spoke to Hope Northrup, MD (01:42), Director of the Division of Medical Genetics, Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, and TSC Clinic Director at the McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Drawing from an impressive career in both TSC and newborn screening, Hope provides a history of newborn screening both in general and in the United States, what they key tenets are to determining whether a disease should be included on the RUSP, and ultimately what the clinical and research benefits are to having TSC included.

Next, Dan spoke to TSC Alliance Chief Scientific Officer Steve Roberds, PhD (23:31), to better understand how newborn screening fits into the larger research efforts of the organization, what steps we have taken to date to move this process forward, and what potential hypotheses we are hoping to test through new research funding. Steve also shares what the timeline and next steps are for both researchers and advocates once an effective and sensitive assay is in place.

The TS Alliance is Seeking Historical Dried Blood Spots and Cord Blood from Individuals with TSC for Newborn Screening Assay Development. Was your child with TSC born in Michigan, New York, Texas, or California? The TSC Alliance is actively seeking access to newborn dried blood spots and stored cord blood from babies born after 1985. If you are interested in donating samples that are potentially stored in your state to the TSC Alliance, please email biosample@tscalliance.org.

The TSC Alliance also recently announced a new funding opportunity for Newborn Screening (NBS) Assay Development. If you are a researcher interested in learning more about this opportunity and submitting a letter of intent you can learn more at www.tscalliance.org/grants. The deadline to submit an LOI is Monday, August 23.

Resources and Links


Episode 22: Overcoming Hurdles with Health Plans and Specialty Pharmacies



In Episode 22 of TSC Now, host Dan Klein explores overcoming hurdles in healthcare, specifically to help parents/caregivers and individuals with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) navigate issues with access to medications, changes to their health plans and how to best communicate with specialty pharmacies. This episode is sponsored by Greenwich Biosciences.

Disclaimer: Greenwich Biosciences utilized Precision Value and Health’s services to gather and respond to the questions being discussed on this podcast. The opinions expressed are those of the speakers individually based on their experience and do not reflect the policies or positions of the speakers’ employers or of Greenwich Biosciences. The following content is for informational purposes only and does not guarantee access or coverage of any product. 

First, to provide some context on what access challenges can be like for individuals and families, Dan talked to Shelly Meitzler (01:40), TS Alliance Regional Program Manager East and mom to Ashlin and Mason with TSC.  Shelly shares about a recent challenging experience refilling a prescription for Ashlin earlier this year. She talks about where she hit roadblocks, how she felt navigating the insurance and pharmacy system, and how she ultimately got resolution. Her story highlights several common hurdles experienced by many families, including problems when switching insurance plans, not knowing when a prior authorization is required, trying to figure out who your care team is at your pharmacy, and finally dealing with a retail pharmacy versus a specialty pharmacy.

Then, to tackle common questions, some of which were mentioned in Shelly’s story, Dan speaks to two former payers, Hetty Lima and Kellie Rademacher from Precision Value and Health (17:44). Building off of their extensive pharmacy knowledge, Hetty and Kellie answer a number of questions members have when dealing with access issues, such as:

  • What do I need to do if my health plan changes?
  • What do I do when my medication is no longer covered by my insurance plan?
  • How do I navigate having two different health plans?
  • How do I know when a medication requires a prior authorization, step therapy, or has a quantity limit or any other type of rule or edit that could impact access?
  • Where can I find available resources if I need emergency access to my medications?

This conversation builds off of an E-Webinar from earlier this year, Overcoming Hurdles: Insurance, Scripts and Specialty Pharmacy, where Jeff Krol, VP of Market Access & Payer Strategy at Greenwich Biosciences, and Ashley Pounders, MSN, FNP, TS Alliance Director of Medical Affairs, provide useful tips on navigating the complex prescription insurance coverage, scripts and specialty pharmacy. We encourage you to re-watch the recording for more information and resources on this topic.

Finally, if you are at risk of running out of a medication for you or your loved one and need assistance, please contact us on our emergency line: (240) 463-7250. That number is available 9 AM to 9 PM Eastern and someone from our team can help.

Resources and Links

 

This episode was sponsored by:


Episode 19: Infantile Spasms Awareness Week (#ISAW2020)



In a very special early edition of TSC Now, host Dan Klein explores the topic of infantile spasms (IS) as Infantile Spasms Awareness Week (ISAW), held annually December 1-7 to raise awareness of IS with both parents/caregivers and frontline physicians, comes to a close. To learn more about infantile spasms go to www.infantilespasms.org.

First, Dan talks to Kelly Knupp, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and member of Infantile Spasms Action Network (ISAN) (01:23). She discusses what infantile spasms are, what they look like and are sometimes misdiagnosed as, and why they are so serious to the cognitive development of babies. She also explains what tests need to be done to confirm a diagnosis, what first line treatments are available, and why early intervention is so important. Finally, she offers advice to parents who suspect their child might be having spasms, and urges all parents who are concerned to first take a video of the strange behavior to share with their doctor and then don’t delay in seeking care despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Then, Dan talks to Ashley Callahan of St. Augustine, Florida (14:53). In June when her daughter Kaylee was 4 months old, Ashely noticed Kaylee making strange repetitive eye movements, which prompted a trip to the emergency room despite the COVID-19 pandemic and eventually a diagnosis of infantile spasms. Ashley shares what led to the decision to take Kaylee to the emergency room, what it was like getting a diagnosis of IS, and how she has found support through groups online. She also shares her advice for other parents who may be worried about their child and encourages them to trust their instincts.

Throughout Infantile Spasms Awareness Week, the TS Alliance and other ISAN partners have made a coordinated effort to develop resources for families and to generate coverage of this important initiative. Below are some links to some of these resources and coverage of #ISAW2020. Our deepest thanks to everyone who helped raise awareness of infantile spasms this year.

Resources and Links


Episode 15: Managing Behaviors During COVID-19 (Part 2) + A New Partnership with SeizureTracker



In episode 15 of TSC Now, host Dan Klein continues exploring how to manage harmful and disruptive behaviors associated with TSC-associated neuropsychiatric disorders (TAND) during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Then he explores a new partnership between the TS Alliance and SeizureTracker and how it’s advancing both our understanding of TSC and epilepsy.

First, Dan talks with Tanjala Gipson, MD, Director of the TSC-Associated Neuropsychiatric Disorders Clinic at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and Director of the Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Clinic at the Boling Center for Disabilities (01:20). She discusses what factors about the pandemic are causing TAND-related behaviors to be more frequent and severe, how parents can begin to address these behaviors, and what parents should do to manage their own anxiety and prepare for an extended period of time at home during the pandemic. She also answers questions from parents about how to deal with sleeplessness, emotional outbursts, and transitioning from one activity to another. See below for more TAND and COVID-related resources.

Then Dan chats with Rob Moss, creator and co-founder of SeizureTracker.com, and Gabrielle Rushing, PhD, Associate Director of Research at the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance (24:33). They discuss a new data sharing partnership that will allow SeizureTracker users to connect their seizure data with the TS Alliance Natural History Database, how individuals with TSC can participate in the TSC Biosample Repository Project, and the role patients and patient-reported outcomes play in research and our understanding of TSC and epilepsy. They also talk about how SeizureTracker and the Natural History Database and TSC Biosample Repository are moving research forward and how these tools will continue to evolve in the future. Learn more about how you or your loved one can participate in the TSC Biosample Repository Project.

Resources
TS Alliance TAND web page featuring recordings of TAND webinars: https://www.tsalliance.org/about-tsc/signs-and-symptoms-of-tsc/brain-and-neurological-function/tand/
Managing Anxiety During COVID-19 Webinar Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4rHD0Zhdpc
TS Alliance COVID-19 & TSC Resources: https://www.tsalliance.org/individuals-families/covid-19/
TAND 101: The TAND Checklist Webinar Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXO9MopLg9k&feature=emb_logo

TS Alliance and SeizureTracker Partnership Announcement: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/tuberous-sclerosis-alliance-and-seizure-tracker-partner-to-promote-data-sharing-and-biosample-collection-301079871.html?tc=eml_cleartime
Seizures and Tuberous Sclerosis Complex web page on SeizureTracker.com: https://www.seizuretracker.com/SeizureSuccess/TSC_Tuberous-Sclerosis-Complex/
TSC Biosample Repository and Natural History Database web page: https://www.tsalliance.org/individuals-families/biosample-repository-and-natural-history-database/


Episode 10: Expanding Coverage and Ensuring Access to Medications



In episode 10 of TSC Now, host Dan Klein talks to Darcy Krueger, MD, PhD, TSC Clinic Director at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. They discuss the recent FDA approval of the Sabril label expansion, the study he led that served as supplemental material for that application, and what this process can teach us about the role of physicians, patients and advocacy organizations play in ensuring access to life-saving medications for people with rare diseases like TSC. Finally, they discuss how the TS Alliance can begin to develop evidence-based standards of care.

Then in a brand new segment, Dan catches up with Shelly Meitzler, TS Alliance Regional Program Manager East. They talk about how she first got involved with the TS Alliance, how she draws strength from supporting other families and individuals affected, and why she is running the 2020 TCS New York City Marathon with Team TSC. The TS Alliance has nine spots available for people interested in running the marathon and fundraising with Team TSC, to learn more and apply visit: https://www.tsalliance.org/Team-TSC/ or email Shelly at smeitzler@tsalliance.org.


Episode 8: Excerpts from AES and the Current State of Epilepsy Research



In the eighth episode of TSC Now, host Dan Klein catches up with TS Alliance partners at the annual American Epilepsy Society Meeting (AES), the largest gathering on epilepsy in the world, which was held December 6-10 in Baltimore. Seizures remain one of the most common neurological features of TSC, occurring in 85% of individuals with TSC and more than 50% of individuals with TSC who have epilepsy will not respond to standard antiepileptic medications and have intractable epilepsy. Therefore, this meeting was a good opportunity to explore the current state of epilepsy research, what gaps still exist and what’s on the horizon. Continue reading Episode 8: Excerpts from AES and the Current State of Epilepsy Research


Episode 7: Common Parent/Caregiver Challenges and Advocating for Your Health



In the seventh episode of TSC Now, host Dan Klein explores common challenges parents, caregivers and those affected by tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) face when managing their health and seeking care from physicians.

First, he has a conversation with Paul Mullin, MD, Director of Neurology and Epilepsy at Medical Associates of the Hudson Valley (01:22). They discuss the results of a survey conducted by Aquestive Therapeutics on some of the most common challenges parents face when trying to administer medication to children with epilepsy and how new technology can help alleviate some of these challenges. They also talk about what parents and caregivers can do to be proactive in addressing seizures and working with their doctor. Dr. Mullin also shares several online resources where parents can get accurate and reliable information and advice, including the Epilepsy Foundation, the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the LGS Foundation.

Next, Dan talks to Peter Crino, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Director of the TSC Center of Maryland, and a member of the TS Alliance Board of Directors (20:12). We discuss the process of transitioning a patient with TSC from pediatric to adult care, some of the challenges associated with that transition, and how parents and those affected can start preparing to mitigate those challenges. We also talked about how adults with TSC can best manage their care and Dr. Crino emphasizes the importance of following the Consensus Guidelines for Diagnosis, Surveillance and Management of TSC to ensure that different manifestations of the disease are being monitored and managed appropriately throughout one’s lifetime. Finally, we discuss the role telemedicine may play in expanding access to TSC experts.

This episode was sponsored by:

Resources:

Epilepsy Foundation website: https://www.epilepsy.com/

NORD website: https://rarediseases.org/

NINDS website: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/

LGS Foundation website: https://www.lgsfoundation.org/

TSC Center of Maryland website: https://www.umms.org/ummc/health-services/neurology/services/tuberous-sclerosis

Consensus Guidelines for Surveillance and Treatment: https://www.tsalliance.org/individuals-families/treatment-guidelines/consensus-guidelines-for-diagnosis-surveillance-and-management-of-tsc/

Transition resources: https://www.tsalliance.org/individuals-families/young-adults/


Episode 4: Educational Issues in TSC and How to Advocate for Your Child in School



In the fourth episode of TSC Now, host Dan Klein talks to Lilian Ansari, MS, Special Needs Advocate, Co-Chair of the TS Alliance of Northern California and Education Parent Mentor. They discuss why she volunteered as an Education Parent Mentor, what types of challenges kids with TSC face in the classroom, and what resources and benefits are available to families under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. She also shares what advice she gives to parents as they are preparing for an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting, including to record the meeting, take time to review the plan and get everything agreed upon in writing. Finally, she encourages others to volunteer as Education Parent Mentors and provide support in their communities.

If your child is having school issues please call Dena Hook, Vice President of Support Services, at (800) 225-6872 or email her at dhook@tsalliance.org. You may fax documents, such as IEP reports or other correspondence, to Dena at (888) 330-1853.

To learn more about school issues visit: https://www.tsalliance.org/individuals-families/school-issues/

To learn more about the Education Parent Mentor Program and to apply visit: https://www.tsalliance.org/engage/volunteer-opportunities/educator-parent-mentor/


Episode 3: The 2019 International TSC Research Conference



In the third episode of TSC Now, host Dan Klein, Director of Digital Platforms for the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance, talks to the two co-chairs of the 2019 International TSC Research Conference: Changing the Course of TSC. Continue reading Episode 3: The 2019 International TSC Research Conference