A University of Houston biomedical engineer is reporting a dramatic decrease in the time it takes to detect the seizure onset zone (SOZ), the actual part of the brain that causes seizures, in patients with epilepsy.
Nearly 30 percent of epilepsy patients are resistant to drug therapy, so they have the option of surgery to remove their seizure onset zones. Most of them opt in, according to assistant professor Nuri Ince, noting the improved quality of life for sufferers.
Using oscillating brain waves, rather than observing seizures as they happen, Ince locates the seizure onset zone in one hour. Current treatment protocols for detecting the zone require prolonged monitoring in the hospital for up to 10 days. Ince’s new method to locate the seizure onset zone, reported in Brain, A Journal of Neurology, could save patients weeks of hospitalization, reduce complications and costs associated with what has traditionally been an arduous, and often painful, procedure.
“We observed that the high frequency oscillations in the SOZ form random, repetitive waveform patterns that identify their location,” said Ince, who compares the process to a broken bike or car which makes the same sound randomly, yet repetitively. “In a car it’s a sound, in a brain it’s the oscillatory patterns that are almost screaming ‘I am here!’”