Epilepsy affects both children and adults. When medications do not control seizures, surgery is another option. Currently, approximately 50% of children who undergo this operation become seizure-free afterwards.
Surgeons must identify which part of the patient’s brain is responsible for the seizures.
UTA bioengineer Christos Papadelis said that can be difficult because different parts of the brain can cause seizures.
Current testing is invasive. Doctors must drill holes in the scalp and insert electrodes to locate the location of the seizure activity.
The UTA researchers focused on two techniques. Electroencephalography or EEG is used to measure electrical activity in the brain. And the other uses magnetoencephalography or MEG to measure the magnetic activity in the brain. Both approaches are non-invasive.
“Using these tools that we are developing in our study, we are able to identify with high precision which is the functional network in the brain that is responsible for the seizures,” said Papadelis. “We take the child to the hospital, and we put some electrodes on the child’s head non-invasively, and then we record this activity.”
Papadelis said the researchers can provide this information to clinicians and neurosurgeons, so they know where to operate and increase the chances that a child will be seizure-free.
Papadelis worked with graduate student Ludovica Corona at UTA and researchers at Cook Children’s Health Care System. The team published their brain research in the scientific journal “Brain” in mid-February.
The study, “Noninvasive mapping of epileptogenic networks predicts surgical outcome,” was supported by UT Arlington and Cook Children’s Health Care System, was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and was produced in collaboration with Boston Children’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
Papadelis expects that this research will benefit many patients and their families.
“I am a parent. And as a father of two, I know how important it is for people to give their children the best when it comes to medical care, Papadelis said.
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Mya Nicholson reports for KERA’s Government Accountability Team. She is studying broadcast journalism at the University of North Texas.
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