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.

In addition to improving their EEG monitoring and brain stimulation in animals, the SickKids team is also working on a device that can be surgically placed within the brains of people with epilepsy to deliver brain stimulation when a seizure is about to start. Based on this work, they plan to start human studies for brain stimulation by early 2017.

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