Nav: Home

Inducing seizures to stop seizures

June 11, 2019

Surgery is the only way to stop seizures in 30 per cent of patients with focal drug-resistant epilepsy. A new study finds that inducing seizures before surgery may be a convenient and cost-effective way to determine the brain region where seizures are coming from.

Epilepsy patients awaiting surgery often stay in hospital for one to two weeks under medical observation for the recording of seizures. By recording the source of the seizure, doctors can know what part of the brain to operate on to stop future seizures. This stay can be extremely inconvenient for patients and expensive for health care systems.

In approximately 20 per cent of patients, electrodes have to be inserted directly into the brain. Patients with inserted electrodes often undergo cortical stimulation, a procedure that applies electrical current to the brain to map brain function but also to induce seizures for better understanding of the epileptic network. So far, no study systematically addressed whether relying on induced seizures to plan the surgery is as effective as relying on spontaneous seizures.

Looking at data from 103 epilepsy patients in Montreal, Canada and Grenoble, France, a research team led by Dr. Birgit Frauscher at The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital) used statistical methods to reveal correlations between the presence of stimulated seizures and their onset zone and patient outcome. They found the patients who had induced seizures had better outcomes than patients in whom no seizures could be induced. Also, there was strong similarity between the seizure onset zones identified by induced and spontaneous seizures.

This finding suggests that inducing seizures is as effective for determining the origin of seizures in the brain as spontaneous seizures. Using induced seizures in this way could mean much shorter hospital stays for patients awaiting surgery, and cost savings for hospitals that perform these operations.

Dr. Frauscher says her clinic has changed its standard practice, performing stimulation early after electrode insertion, and expects other clinics will follow as a result of this study.

"I think it would be a huge advantage if this procedure was done in the first days of a patient's stay," says Dr. Frauscher. "It's not a new procedure, but the approach is new in the sense that now we know it's very similar to a spontaneous seizure, so we can reduce hospital time. Instead of being in hospital for two weeks, patients can maybe be there for 48 or 72 hours and we only need to record maybe one additional spontaneous seizures and not several, and that is a huge difference."
-end-
Their results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on June 10, 2019. The study was supported with funds from Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Savoy Epilepsy Foundation, and Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec. Authors included Dr. Carolina Cuello-Oderiz, research fellow, Dr. François Dubeau, epileptologist, Jean Gotman, neuroscientist specializing in epilepsy Dr. Jeffery Hall, epilepsy surgeon, Nicolas von Ellenrieder, research associate, and Dr. Philippe Kahane, epileptologist, and his team at the Grenoble-Alpes University Hospital in France.

The Neuro

The Neuro - The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital - is a world-leading destination for brain research and advanced patient care. Since its founding in 1934 by renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Wilder Penfield, The Neuro has grown to be the largest specialized neuroscience research and clinical center in Canada, and one of the largest in the world. The seamless integration of research, patient care, and training of the world's top minds make The Neuro uniquely positioned to have a significant impact on the understanding and treatment of nervous system disorders. In 2016, The Neuro became the first institute in the world to fully embrace the Open Science philosophy, creating the Tanenbaum Open Science Institute. The Montreal Neurological Institute is a McGill University research and teaching institute. The Montreal Neurological Hospital is part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. For more information, please visit http://www.theneuro.ca

McGill University

Related Brain Articles:

Study describes changes to structural brain networks after radiotherapy for brain tumors
Researchers compared the thickness of brain cortex in patients with brain tumors before and after radiation therapy was applied and found significant dose-dependent changes in the structural properties of cortical neural networks, at both the local and global level.
Blue Brain team discovers a multi-dimensional universe in brain networks
Using a sophisticated type of mathematics in a way that it has never been used before in neuroscience, a team from the Blue Brain Project has uncovered a universe of multi-dimensional geometrical structures and spaces within the networks of the brain.
New brain mapping tool produces higher resolution data during brain surgery
Researchers have developed a new device to map the brain during surgery and distinguish between healthy and diseased tissues.
Newborn baby brain scans will help scientists track brain development
Scientists have today published ground-breaking scans of newborn babies' brains which researchers from all over the world can download and use to study how the human brain develops.
New test may quickly identify mild traumatic brain injury with underlying brain damage
A new test using peripheral vision reaction time could lead to earlier diagnosis and more effective treatment of mild traumatic brain injury, often referred to as a concussion.
This is your brain on God: Spiritual experiences activate brain reward circuits
Religious and spiritual experiences activate the brain reward circuits in much the same way as love, sex, gambling, drugs and music, report researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine.
Brain scientists at TU Dresden examine brain networks during short-term task learning
'Practice makes perfect' is a common saying. We all have experienced that the initially effortful implementation of novel tasks is becoming rapidly easier and more fluent after only a few repetitions.
Balancing time & space in the brain: New model holds promise for predicting brain dynamics
A team of scientists has extended the balanced network model to provide deep and testable predictions linking brain circuits to brain activity.
New view of brain development: Striking differences between adult and newborn mouse brain
Spikes in neuronal activity in young mice do not spur corresponding boosts in blood flow -- a discovery that stands in stark contrast to the adult mouse brain.
Map of teenage brain provides evidence of link between antisocial behavior and brain development
The brains of teenagers with serious antisocial behavior problems differ significantly in structure to those of their peers, providing the clearest evidence to date that their behavior stems from changes in brain development in early life, according to new research led by the University of Cambridge and the University of Southampton, in collaboration with the University of Rome Tor Vergata in Italy.

Related Brain Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Crisis
There's no greater threat to humanity than climate change. What can we do to stop the worst consequences? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can save our planet and whether we can do it in time. Guests include climate activist Greta Thunberg, chemical engineer Jennifer Wilcox, research scientist Sean Davis, food innovator Bruce Friedrich, and psychologist Per Espen Stoknes.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...