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Study Describes Noninvasive Method for Diagnosing Epilepsy

Findings could benefit millions of people with the disease (Aug. 24)

The research was published online in the neurology journal Brain.

The study’s key findings include:

  • Important data about brain function can be gathered through noninvasive methods, not only during a seizure, but immediately after a seizure.
  • The frontal lobe of the brain is most involved in severe seizures.
  • Seizures in the temporal lobe are most common among adults.

The new technique used in the study can help determine the side of the brain where the seizures originate.

“This is the first-ever study where new noninvasive methods were used to study patients after a seizure instead of during a seizure,” said Professor Bin He, senior author of the study. “It’s really a paradigm shift for research in epilepsy.”

The biggest challenge for medical researchers is to locate the part of the brain responsible for the seizures to determine possible treatments. In the past, most research has focused on studying patients while they were having a seizure. Some of these studies involved invasive methods, such as surgery, to collect data.

In the new report, the researchers studied the brains of 28 patients immediately after seizures using a specialized type of noninvasive EEG with 76 electrodes attached to the scalp for gathering data, in contrast to most previous research, which used 32 electrodes. The researchers also used specialized imaging technology to gather data about the patient.

Their findings may lead to innovative means of locating the brain regions responsible for seizures in individual patients using noninvasive strategies.

For more information, visit the University of Minnesota Web site.

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