New Algorithm Analyzes Brain Waves and Improves Epilepsy Surgery

Armen Hareyan's picture
Epilepsy Surgery Improvement

This breakthrough - an algorithm for analyzing brain waves for epilepsy - will improve the success rate of brain surgery for epilepsy.

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Texan researchers have developed an algorithm that will take only an hour instead of several days to identify the area in which epileptic seizures commence in patient’s brains.

It will take an hour instead of several days to better identify the area of the brain suffering from epilepsy in patients. This is the result of a study published in the journal Brain by the University of Houston. TX.

Improving Epilepsy Surgery Success Rate and The Care of Epileptic Patients

Pediatric neurologists, engineers, and researchers, after several years of working, have succeeded in developing a new tool that would significantly improve the care of epileptic patients. Today, in cases of treatment-resistant epilepsy, which occurs in about one-third of patients, surgery or vagus nerve stimulation may be suggested. People whose seizures begin in a specific region of the brain have cases of focal epilepsy. This breakthrough will improve the epilepsy surgery success rate.

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The Algorithm Identifies Precise Location of Epileptic Surgery

This study was only tested on 13 epileptic patients. But if the principle of the surgery itself, which is the removal of the epileptogenic zone, may seem simple, the precise identification of this area is still complex. It is indeed necessary to analyze seizures with great accuracy by surface electroencephalographic recordings, to perform IRm and other functional imaging examinations (Pet Scan, SPECT), and to repeat these examinations to be certain of the exact locations of the zones. There is, indeed, no question that the surgery may affect a 'healthy' area.

However, the 'healthy' and epileptogenic regions are sometimes very anatomically close, which makes the analysis difficult.

The researchers have managed to develop a system of localizing the epileptogenic zone. It relies on an algorithm of automatic learning, which analyzes brain waves which are considered to be oscillating. According to the study published in the “Brain” journal, “the stereotypical high-frequency oscillations with the highest degree of waveform similarity were localized within the seizure onset zones only.”

Texan researchers say that the analysis with their new tool makes it possible to identify the area to be removed in one hour only, whereas current protocols often require prolonged hospitalizations, lasting several days. Since this study was performed on only thirteen patients, it will have to be tested more before it can be used routinely. This work is part of a study on ways to improve this complex surgery, which is reserved for specialized centers, such as the recent French project Epinov.

Do you or anyone you know suffer from epilepsy? What do you or they do to treat it? Do you think that advances such as this one will make a dramatic impact on the lives of those with epilepsy? Please let us know in the comments below. By the way here is an EpiWatch App, which is said to improve Epilepsy patients' lives.

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