Using Brain Patterns to Predict and Stop Seizures

Dr. Jose Luis Perez-Velazquez and his research team at the Hospital for Sick Children have been focused on ways to detect when a seizure will start and then stop it using brain stimulation.

To do this, Dr. Perez-Velazquez and his team are currently working in animals. They are monitoring brain activity in these animals using electroencephalography (EEG) to look for seizures - when all neurons are firing together in a pattern called synchronization. By detecting changes in this synchronization, they are now able to predict seizures about 1-2 minutes before they actually happen. Once this pre-seizure brain activity is detected, Dr. Perez-Velazquez and his team then apply about 5 seconds of stimulation to prevent the seizure from occurring. The team is working on a device that can be surgically placed within brains of people with epilepsy to deliver brain stimulation when a seizure is about to start.

The team has developed a method to anticipate seizures and to stop seizure generation using electrical brain stimulation. A “mini” clinical trial will be run to examine deep brain stimulation activity in patients at the Epilepsy clinic run by Dr. Valiante at the Toronto Western Hospital. Ultimately, these results may help with the development of new technologies that decrease seizure frequency in patients.

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