06-11-2014 | Causality Test to aid Epilepsy Surgery

06 November 2014
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Granger causality test can make epilepsy surgery more effective:

A new statistical test that looks at the patterns of high-frequency network activity flow from brain signals can help doctors pinpoint the exact location of seizures occurring in the brain and make surgery more effective, according to researchers at Georgia State University and Emory University School of Medicine. The findings are published in the journal Epilepsia.

Emory researchers Dr. Charles Epstein, Dr. Robert Gross and Dr. Jon Willie; Dr. Bhim Adhikari, a post-doctoral researcher at Georgia State, and Dr. Mukesh Dhamala, an associate professor of physics and neuroscience at Georgia State, studied two groups of patients suffering from epileptic seizures, two patients who were awaiting surgery and eight who had already undergone surgery to eliminate their seizures.

The statistical test known as Granger causality spectral analysis was installed in a computer program, and the researchers found they were able to pinpoint where seizures were originating in the brain and detect seizures up to 10 seconds earlier than previously possible.

"Because of a serious deficit in our fundamental understanding of seizure sources and propagation pathways in the brain, there's about a 50 percent cure rate," Dhamala said. "Identifying seizure sources is an imperfect process. Currently, there are no universally established criteria to clinically identify the seizure onset zones useful for successful surgery. So we've tried to contribute to identifying where a seizure comes from so that the doctor can target the mostly likely seizure sources. Without identifying the location, the surgery cannot happen. For the two patients who were going to have surgery, our results helped to identify the locations of their seizures and eliminate some suspected locations for the doctors to operate."

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