Health Pin-pointing the site of electrical storms in the brain

Pin-pointing the site of electrical storms in the brain

A project imaging the brains of people with severe epilepsy has changed the way a major Melbourne hospital manages the treatment of patients with the disorder.

In a three-year collaboration between Swinburne University of Technology and St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, researchers developed an imaging technique using simultaneous magneto-encephalographic (MEG) and electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings.

The technique interprets brain function to pinpoint the suspected location of the `electrical storms’ that precede an epileptic event and can replace invasive exploratory surgery.

Once the abnormal tissue is provisionally located, the surgical team at the hospital can investigate the option of excising it, leaving healthy brain tissue unaffected.

To date, 10 patients have been operated on using the new technique.

“Each of these patients had suffered long-standing epilepsy, with seizures every week or so,” says Professor David Liley, one of the key project researchers, from Swinburne’s Brain and Psychological Sciences Research Centre.

“The surgery has greatly reduced the number of seizures the patients are experiencing, such that many of the patients are completely seizure free.”

“This means that they and their families have their lives back and are freed from the constant dangers and uncertainty of uncontrolled epilepsy,” Professor Liley says.

You can read more about this project here. [Story credit: Swinburne University newsroom]

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