Sensory processing in a pre-seizure state

Absence seizures are a common childhood epilepsy. These seizures are brief lapses in consciousness that can occur hundreds of times per day and impact learning and development. While pharmacological treatments are available, they are not completely effective and have significant side effects – better therapies are needed. Our team has evidence that seizures are preceded by a period of altered sensation that can be observed in the brain’s electrical activity (EEG). Our team combines expertise in child neurology/epileptology (Porter), human sensory perception (Norcia), and animal models of absence epilepsy (Huguenard) to identify and capitalize on sensory-evoked pre-seizure signals that can be used to predict, and ultimately to prevent, seizures. This team will leverage the power of silicon probes to record from hundreds of neurons in mouse epilepsy models to understand neural correlates of the pre-seizure EEG. These results will be used to optimize a real-time seizure prediction algorithm that will be tested in human patients. Results of this study could lead to new methods for predicting seizures before they take hold. These predictive signals could lead to development of non-pharmacological treatments for absence epilepsy, including, perhaps, well-timed delivery of seizure preventing sensory stimuli.

Project Details

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Seed Grant

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