Using Advanced Brain Imaging to Find Where Seizures Begin

Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a new technology that can be used to monitor a person’s brain activity. A MEG helmet placed on the head can map out brain activity by identifying changes in magnetic fields. MEG can also be combined with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – which provides a picture of the brain’s structure – to accurately pinpoint areas within the brain that cause seizures.

Dr. Douglas Cheyne and his colleagues from the Hospital for Sick Children and Toronto Western Hospital are developing new ways of combining MEG and MRI, with the goal of localizing areas in the brain that generate brief abnormalities in brain activity between seizures (known as interictal spikes). Identifying interictal spikes can be used to help find the region of the brain where seizures arise and guide surgical removal of this area.

Using MEG and MRI for brain imaging may eliminate the need to place electrodes (sensors) directly onto the brain to find the seizure focus. Instead, doctors and researchers may be able to obtain the same information using MEG and MRI but with a less invasive, safer approach.

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