Accurate prognosis for epilepsy patients

July 17, 2013

Scientists at Bonn University Hospital and at the Max Planck Institute for neurological research in Cologne have developed a method with which the chances of success of a surgical procedure for temporal lobe epilepsy can be accurately predicted. The rate of accurate predictions is more than 90%. The results are now being presented in the scientific journal "NeuroImage:Clinical."

When many simultaneously fire in the brain, an epileptic seizure results. The most frequent form is . It originates in one of the two temporal lobes which contain, among other things, important structures for coordinating memory. Because many patients do not respond to medication over the long term, the seizure focus in the affected is often removed in a neurosurgical procedure. However, approximately one-third of patients who undergo surgery do not experience any subsequent improvement. "The procedure is associated with risks - therefore a reliable prognosis regarding the chances of success is very important," says Prof. Dr. Bernd Weber from the Department of Epileptology of Bonn University Hospital.

An Algorithm Assesses Patients' Brain Images

At the Life&Brain Center, the Bonn epilepsy specialists, together with scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Neurological Research in Cologne, have found a way for the chances of success of a temporal lobe procedure in epilepsy patients to be predicted with a striking degree of accuracy. The researchers used images from magnetic resonance imaging from a total of 49 epilepsy patients who had previously undergone surgical removal of the seizure focus in the left temporal lobe. Using a special computer program developed by Lisa Feis from the Max Planck Institute as a part of her dissertation, the scientists looked at the brain images for differences between the patient group whose seizures had improved following surgery and those with unchanged symptoms. "Using , we trained the algorithm to differentiate in the best possible way between seizure-free and non-seizure-free patients," reports Prof. Weber.

Hitting the Mark with Striking Accuracy

Using the results, the scientists then calculated the chances of success of an intervention and compared them with the actual findings after the surgery. Because the brains of women and men differ, for example in the symmetry of the halves of the brain, the researchers evaluated the data according to gender. The rate of accurate predictions was 96% in the case of female patients and 94% in the case of male patients.

Additional Research Needed

The tests have been performed retrospectively to date: The researchers applied the method retrospectively on patients who have already undergone surgery. As the next step, the scientists want to examine how well the method predicts chances of success in patients who still have yet to undergo a procedure on the temporal lobe. Other university medical centers and even more detailed imaging procedures will be included in this. "At present, we are still at a stage that is too early for clinical application; further research is needed," says Prof. Dr. Christian Elger, director of the Bonn Epilepsy Clinic.

Explore further: Depression common among children with temporal lobe epilepsy

More information: NeuroImage:Clinical DOI: 10.1016/j.nicl.2013.06.010

Related Stories

Depression common among children with temporal lobe epilepsy

May 23, 2013
A new study determined that children and adolescents with seizures involving the temporal lobe are likely to have clinically significant behavioral problems and psychiatric illness, especially depression. Findings published ...

Epileptic seizures can propagate using functional brain networks

April 2, 2013
The seizures that affect people with temporal-lobe epilepsy usually start in a region of the brain called the hippocampus. But they are often able to involve other areas outside the temporal lobe, propagating via anatomically ...

Surgery a safe, effective option for many epilepsy patients

March 23, 2012
Treatment for epilepsy typically focuses on medication, with some patients spending 20 years or more on a variety of drugs in search of effective management of the condition. But a UC Health neurologist says that for many ...

Promising results in minimally invasive brain surgery for epilepsy

June 7, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—A new minimally invasive laser-based tool for epilepsy surgery offers a quicker recuperation time for patients than major surgery, Mayo Clinic researchers report. The research is ongoing, but preliminary ...

AES: Brain's stress response differs among epilepsy patients

December 4, 2012
(HealthDay)—There is a significant difference in the brain's response to stress among patients with epilepsy who believe stress is an important factor in seizure control compared to those who do not, according to a study ...

Recommended for you

In witnessing the brain's 'aha!' moment, scientists shed light on biology of consciousness

July 27, 2017
Columbia scientists have identified the brain's 'aha!' moment—that flash in time when you suddenly become aware of information, such as knowing the answer to a difficult question. Today's findings in humans, combined with ...

Scientists block evolution's molecular nerve pruning in rodents

July 27, 2017
Researchers investigating why some people suffer from motor disabilities report they may have dialed back evolution's clock a few ticks by blocking molecular pruning of sophisticated brain-to-limb nerve connections in maturing ...

Social influences can override aggression in male mice, study shows

July 27, 2017
Stanford University School of Medicine investigators have identified a cluster of nerve cells in the male mouse's brain that, when activated, triggers territorial rage in a variety of situations. Activating the same cluster ...

Scientists become research subjects in after-hours brain-scanning project

July 27, 2017
A quest to analyze the unique features of individual human brains evolved into the so-called Midnight Scan Club, a group of scientists who had big ideas but almost no funding and little time to research the trillions of neural ...

Researchers reveal unusual chemistry of protein with role in neurodegenerative disorders

July 27, 2017
A common feature of neurodegenerative diseases is the formation of permanent tangles of insoluble proteins in cells. The beta-amyloid plaques found in people with Alzheimer's disease and the inclusion bodies in motor neurons ...

Mother's brain reward response to offspring reduced by substance addiction

July 27, 2017
Maternal addiction and its effects on children is a major public health problem, often leading to high rates of child abuse, neglect and foster care placement. In a study published today in the journal Human Brain Mapping, ...

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.