Attempting to predict epileptic seizure

December 14, 2010

While the causes of epileptic seizures continue to confound brain researchers, scientists have been exploring how changes in the coordinated activity of brain networks, as monitored through electrodes, might help predict impending seizures. A report in the American Institute of Physics' journal Chaos offers new insight into this possibility.

Two properties are commonly used to measure fluctuations in the activity of a brain network; one, known as L, relates to the overall connectedness between the activities of (or nodes), and the other, C, represents the probability that any two nodes are both interacting with a third node. Tracking changes in these variables, neuroscientists suspect, might offer a way to spot seizures in advance.

Most studies of complex brain networks have used only short-duration recordings of , no more than a few minutes long. And, says physicist Marie-Therese Kuhnert -- a graduate student at the University of Bonn and first author of the CHAOS paper -- to really find seizure-predicting patterns, you need longer-term data.

Kuhnert and her colleagues, professors Christian Elger and Klaus Lehnertz, studied the brain recordings of 13 epilepsy patients undergoing pre-surgical evaluations. The data -- representing, in all cases, days of continuous recordings and seizure activity -- did indeed show fluctuations in L and C, but the two measures were "strongly influenced by the daily rhythms of the patient, sleep–wake cycles, and alterations of anticonvulsive medication," Kuhnert says. Upcoming seizures and even seizures themselves had little effect.

Surprisingly, Kuhnert and her colleagues found much more regularization of brain network activity at night. Previously, such regularization has been seen in healthy individuals, but never in epilepsy patients. "It remains to be investigated whether the increased regularization at night is causally related to , whether it requires some treatment, or whether it can be regarded as a seizure-preventing mechanism," she says.

More information: The article "Long-term variability of global statistical properties of epileptic brain networks" by Marie-Therese Kuhnert, Christian E. Elger, and Klaus Lehnertz appears in the journal Chaos. See: link.aip.org/link/chaoeh/v20/i4/p043126/s1

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Survivors of childhood brain tumors have increased body fat

March 24, 2017

McMaster University researchers have discovered that while survivors of childhood brain tumours have a similar Body Mass Index (BMI) to healthy children with no cancer, they have more fat tissue overall, and especially around ...

Scientists unveil a giant leap for anti-aging

March 23, 2017

UNSW researchers have made a discovery that could lead to a revolutionary drug that actually reverses ageing, improves DNA repair and could even help NASA get its astronauts to Mars.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.