About the CASTLE research programme

The CASTLE research programme is about sleep and epilepsy. This summer we will launch the final part of the programme, a clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of an online sleep behaviour intervention (COSI) for parents of children who have epilepsy and experience a sleep problem. The trial will recruit children with rolandic epilepsy because they have seizures at night that can be triggered by sleep disturbance but we hope that if effective, then COSI will benefit many other children and their families.

The CASTLE programme of research is led by Professor Deb Pal at Kings College London and Professor Paul Gringras at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, with a large team of clinical and scientific experts as well as parents and young people. The study received £2.3 million in funding from NIHR.

What we are doing in the CASTLE programme?

Treating epilepsy with drugs to reduce seizures has been the traditional goal of medical treatment. However, just reducing seizures doesn’t necessarily make much difference to the way children and parents feel. Other issues are of equal importance, among them the quality of children’s and parents’ sleep.

Core Health Outcomes in Childhood Epilepsy – CHOICE

The CASTLE programme has developed the world’s first core outcome measure set for childhood epilepsy, known as CHOICE. CHOICE was co-created with young people, parents and professionals and its findings and recommendations are contained in four published papers. We hope that researchers will use CHOICE to broaden their thinking on what is important to measure in future childhood epilepsy research and how to measure it.

CASTLE Online Sleep Intervention – COSI

Most children with epilepsy have sleep problems and wake in the night. Disturbed sleep in turn reduces learning ability and can also trigger seizures. Parents often get up to check on their child in case s/he is having a seizure, and sometimes sleep with the child because they are worried. This can make the parent very tired the next day, and affect their stress and concentration levels. We have adapted existing sleep behavioural packages for children, both for typically developing and those with autism and ADHD, to the sleep problems experienced by parents of children with epilepsy.

CASTLE Sleep-E Clinical Trial

The development of this new intervention “COSI” will be comparatively evaluated against standard care in a randomised controlled trial, the CASTLE Sleep-E trial.

Patient and Public Involvement – PPI

To guide, inform and support all of this research, children with epilepsy and parents of children with epilepsy are central in advising on all aspects of the research process.

Further information

Who is conducting the research?

The CASTLE Study is led by Professor Deb Pal at Kings College London and Professor Paul Gringras at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, with a large team of clinical and scientific experts as well as parents and young people. The study is funded by NIHR under the Programmes for Applied Research theme.

Who has reviewed this study?

CASTLE Sleep-E is a non-CTIMP clinical trial and is awaiting final review and ethical approval ahead of an anticipated launch in summer 2021.