Major Scientific Discovery from Cook Children’s Neuroscience Research Center
New Research Published in Top-Tier Scientific Journal ‘Brain’ Precisely Pinpoints Origin of Seizures in Children
Groundbreaking research at Cook Children’s Health Care System could help doctors around the globe precisely identify which part of the brain is causing seizures in children with epilepsy. The Neurosciences Research Center at Cook Children’s, which is led by Professor Christos Papadelis, Ph.D., successfully demonstrated how noninvasive techniques and advanced computer modeling could be used to measure the electric and magnetic signals generated by the neural cells in the brain. Through this work, the team identified functional networks responsible for generating seizures in the brains of children with epilepsy. The findings, which were published today in the esteemed neurology journal Brain, are significant because they allow physicians to better determine where brain surgery via resection (or ablation with laser heat) will be successful in stopping seizures in children.
“Surgical resection of the brain area where these functional networks are localized offers higher chances of seizure freedom than conventional methods,” said Dr. Papadelis, Director of Neuroscience Research at Cook Children’s. “This novel method has the potential to improve the outcome of children with epilepsy, particularly those who were previously ineligible for neurosurgery due to the absence of abnormal activity in their electrophysiological conventional diagnostic tests.”
One out of every 100 children in the U.S. suffer from epilepsy, a severe brain disease that causes frequent and unprovoked seizures. Anti-seizure drugs can control seizures in most cases, but they fail in 30% of children suffering from epilepsy. Children with uncontrolled seizures are at increased risk for poor long-term intellectual and psychological outcomes, along with a poor health-related quality of life. For these children, brain surgery is the best available treatment since it offers high chances of seizure freedom.
This study is funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and is in collaboration with the Boston Children’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Ludovica Corona, a Ph.D. student of Bioengineering at the University of Texas at Arlington, serves as first author in this scientific paper.