Monitoring Brain Waves to Predict Seizures

Image Citation Source by Robert Lawton used under CC by-sa 2.5
Researchers are interested in developing computer-based programs that can predict seizures using brain wave patterns and help warn individuals about an upcoming seizure. To create these programs, researchers must first find out what brain activity looks like both before and during a seizure, and what brain wave patterns can be used to predict a seizure.

In this now completed study, Dr. Hiroshi Otsubo and his group at the Hospital for Sick Children looked at brain wave patterns in children with different types of drug-resistant epilepsy to identify what can be used to predict a seizure. To do this, his team used intracranial electroencephalography (iEEG) where brain waves are recorded by sensors placed inside the brain. Based on these recordings, Dr. Otsubo and his team found that rapid changes in brain activity (high frequency oscillations) could be used to identify which area of the brain was responsible for causing seizures in children with tuberous sclerosis complex. Once this brain area was removed during epilepsy surgery, these children were found to have better seizure outcomes.

In his more recent publications, Dr. Otsubo found that a slow brain wave – which is thought to suppress brain activity – was more powerful before the onset of a seizure, specifically in the brain area where seizures occur. Although the powerful slow wave was unable to stop the seizure from occurring, Dr. Otsubo did find that the dynamic changes between the slow wave and other types of brain waves could be used to predict the start of the seizure.

This study could provide researchers with another way to predict when seizures will occur, ultimately helping in the development of new computer-based programs for brain stimulation.

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Status: Completed

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