Predicting epileptic seizures in advance is possible, research says

June 10, 2014 by Https://mail.google.com/mail/?view=Cm&fs=1&tf=1&to=Giselle.dye@pagodapr.com, Heriot-Watt University

Twenty minutes' advance prediction of an impending seizure for people with epilepsy is possible using advanced mathematical modelling, according to research published in a leading international science journal.

The research suggests this could be particularly valuable for patients with types of epilepsy that are currently very difficult or impossible to treat and where the only available option is to minimize the effects of the seizure.

The research by Professor David Corne of the Intelligent Systems Lab at Heriot-Watt University's Department of Computer Science and PHD student, Negin Moghim (published in PLOS ONE) used all the available Electroencephalography (EEG) data from an existing dataset [see note 1] and modelled it in ways never done before.

The results of their research indicate that by using predictive , it is now possible to give up to 20 minutes' advance prediction of a seizure with considerable accuracy, in most patients.

Unlike earlier EEG analysis-based studies, where they tested their approach on one or two patients, the Heriot-Watt team tested their work on the datasets of 21 patients, all with types of epilepsy that are difficult or impossible to treat at the moment.

Epilepsy affects some 50 million people worldwide and while it can be managed in some patients using prescription drugs, the remainder are likely to have a relapse after the initial remission and some may even develop drug resistant epilepsy.

Patients with uncontrolled epilepsy can be suffer accidents or even death as well as a multitude of side effects such as memory loss, depression and other psychological disorders.

Speaking about his research Professor Corne said, "EEG datasets are increasingly being generated from scientific studies and made available to all. Such 'big data' that relates human activity to neural, neuromuscular or physiological signals, becomes useful when the right mix of advanced mathematics and computing is applied.

"Building predictive models from such data, gives rise to many exciting possibilities, both in terms of applications and by providing insight into how the brain works including predicting future mental or physical states some time before they occur.

"This could relate to both intentional events, such as predicting when a person who is standing still is about to start walking and unintentional events, for example predicting when someone is about to suffer an epileptic seizure."

With the wide use of digital EEG recording tools, these types of data are becoming more accessible for electronic manipulation. While EEGs were formerly used as a diagnosis and treatment specification tool , access to the digitised form of this information has helped generate new fields of research, from neonatal seizure detection to understanding how seizures unfolds in the epileptic brain.

Professor Corne commented "Being able to predict seizures and coupling this information with state of the art medical device technology, we should soon be able to provide unobtrusive wearable devices that provide accurate advance warning of seizures and allows patients to take prompt action to minimise the risk to themselves."

Background

Before a seizure happens, a number of characteristic, clinical symptoms occur. This concept has allowed researchers to study EEGs in a different way, to find correlates of such processes and identify the pre-seizure state.

The main question researchers have been addressing is whether characteristic features can be extracted from an EEG which correlate with the occurrence (and time of the occurrence) of seizures.

In that case, treatments could move from therapeutic and long-term preventive plans to on-demand
strategies (i.e. immediately before the seizure occurs), such as fast-acting anticonvulsant substances,
or deep-brain stimulation technology in order to reset the brain as soon as seizure activity is detected, to prevent the seizure happening.

How advance warning would work

People with epilepsy that is very serious or difficult to treat sometimes undergo invasive EEG, i.e. implanted monitoring electrodes (the dataset the Heriot-Watt team have worked with, comes from such invasive EEG) for a better understanding of where exactly in the brain the seizures start.

Monitoring of invasive EEG usually happens as a pre-surgical procedure for these types of patients. The approach developed by the Heriot-Watt team works with the data from this process to develop specific algorithms for advance prediction, personalised for that patient.

The next step in making this a practical reality for people with is to incorporate these algorithms with a deep brain stimulation device that captures the brain signals and can effectively re-set the state of the brain when a is predicted to happen, via a neurostimulator.

This could eventually be something as small as wristwatch or potentially even an App that's incorporated into a smart watch.

Explore further: Team studies EEGs in the ER to improve seizure diagnosis, care

More information: Moghim N, Corne DW (2014) "Predicting Epileptic Seizures in Advance." PLoS ONE 9(6): e99334. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0099334

The Freiburg EEG dataset epilepsy.uni-freiburg.de/freib … project/eeg-database

Related Stories

Team studies EEGs in the ER to improve seizure diagnosis, care

May 19, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Even though it could impact their admission or care in the hospital, few seizing patients receive a diagnostic electroencephalogram, or EEG, in the emergency department, says a new study presented this ...

Getting to grips with seizure prediction

November 7, 2013
A device that could predict when a person with epilepsy might next have a seizure is one step closer to reality thanks to the development of software by researchers in the USA. Details are to be published in a forthcoming ...

Surprising results from study of non-epileptic seizures

December 2, 2012
A Loyola University Medical Center neurologist is reporting surprising results of a study of patients who experience both epileptic and non-epileptic seizures.

Task force issues improved definition for epilepsy

May 6, 2014
A UCLA neurosurgeon was part of a prestigious task force that has created a new clinical definition for epilepsy. The new interpretation, which updates a definition that had been in use for nearly a decade, broadens the scope ...

New clinical definition for epilepsy improves diagnosis accuracy

April 14, 2014
An expert task force has created a new definition for epilepsy that refines the scope of patients diagnosed with this brain disease. The study published in Epilepsia, a journal published by Wiley on behalf of the International ...

Recommended for you

Cognitive training helps regain a younger-working brain

January 23, 2018
Relentless cognitive decline as we age is worrisome, and it is widely thought to be an unavoidable negative aspect of normal aging. Researchers at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas, however, ...

Lifting the veil on 'valence,' brain study reveals roots of desire, dislike

January 23, 2018
The amygdala is a tiny hub of emotions where in 2016 a team led by MIT neuroscientist Kay Tye found specific populations of neurons that assign good or bad feelings, or "valence," to experience. Learning to associate pleasure ...

Your brain responses to music reveal if you're a musician or not

January 23, 2018
How your brain responds to music listening can reveal whether you have received musical training, according to new Nordic research conducted in Finland (University of Jyväskylä and AMI Center) and Denmark (Aarhus University).

New neuron-like cells allow investigation into synthesis of vital cellular components

January 22, 2018
Neuron-like cells created from a readily available cell line have allowed researchers to investigate how the human brain makes a metabolic building block essential for the survival of all living organisms. A team led by researchers ...

Finding unravels nature of cognitive inflexibility in fragile X syndrome

January 22, 2018
Mice with the genetic defect that causes fragile X syndrome (FXS) learn and remember normally, but show an inability to learn new information that contradicts what they initially learned, shows a new study by a team of neuroscientists. ...

Epilepsy linked to brain volume and thickness differences

January 22, 2018
Epilepsy is associated with thickness and volume differences in the grey matter of several brain regions, according to new research led by UCL and the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

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.