According to a new study conducted on patients suffering from epilepsy, new findings may help doctors stop epileptic seizures for patients experiencing temporal lobe epilepsy. Conducted in part with the Epilepsy Clinical Program at the University of California, Los Angeles, researchers looked at two different forms of data from patients with temporal lobe epilepsy – functional magnetic resonance imaging or fMRI, and traditional MRI imaging.
Mapping the Origin of Seizures
The goal of the MRI imaging study was to try and better understand how the brain activity in patients with frontal lobe epilepsy compares to people without frontal lobe epilepsy. The fMRI and MRI imaging mapped the origin of the patients’ seizures and the results of those screenings were compared to the results of people without frontal lobe epilepsy.
Taking into account the different variations of brain activity between those participating in the study, researchers used a new approach based on Bayesian probability, which aims to shed light on possible outcomes based on the strength of various pieces of evidence collected. While the results do not definitively prove or disprove any theories, researchers are using the data to better understand the drivers between networks in the brains of those who have frontal lobe epilepsy.
Finding New Brain Connections
The data gathered in these scans supported several previously known connections, while also shedding light on a previously unknown connection. One of which was the sequence of activity that a healthy brain undergoes when the waves travel from the premotor cortex to the primary cortex.
The data also showed that those with frontal lobe epilepsy engage parts of the brain network differently between the primary somatosensory cortex and the premotor cortex than those without epilepsy. To hand alertness tasks, the epileptic brain engages other parts of their brain than those in the control group and also uses different spatial patterns. This is due to a smaller area of activity in the areas responsible for handling alertness tasks, which ready the brain for incoming stimuli.
The results of this study gave researchers insight into how epileptic brains function, something that they were unable to observe previously. As a result, there is potential for doctors to identify and subsequently stimulate the specific areas brain where treatment is needed.