Patient-friendly diagnostic tools proposed for epilepsy research

Researchers from IIT Delhi come up with a non-invasive, rapid and user-friendly diagnostic tool for detection of epileptogenic zone

Many epilepsies can be controlled with medication, however, when medication fails to control the seizures, it is called drug resistant epilepsy.

Drug-resistant epilepsies are more likely to arise from structural abnormalities of the brain and therefore brain surgery offers a complete cure for these patients, provided the exact origin and extent of the abnormality is identified by a neurosurgeon. The most complex and tedious task of surgical evaluation is determining the origin of the electrical abnormality and correlating it with a structural abnormality in the brain.

These structural abnormalities are so subtle that they can be identified only by MRI and should always be interpreted along with an electroencephalogram (EEG) evaluation. Other modalities used by neurosurgeons are positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetoencephalography (MEG). The PET scan involves the absorption of a radioactive substance. MEG installation is very limited in India. Craniotomy and robot-assisted surgery are invasive, and clinicians drill holes in the skull to place electrodes on the brain. It takes 2-8 hours for the detection of epileptogenic zone and is uncomfortable for patients.

A team of researchers at IIT Delhi led by Prof. Lalan Kumar from the Department of Electrical Engineering at IIT Delhi has developed an EEG-based non-invasive brain source localization (BSL) framework for the focal epilepsy detection that is fast and patient-friendly. Given EEG data with seizures, array processing algorithms can point to coordinates within minutes. In particular, researchers have proposed new algorithms based on head harmonics for seizure localization.

Dr. Amita Giri, Prime Minister Researcher (PMRF) in the Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Delhi, developed the new method of detecting epileptic regions as part of her PhD work. Other members of the research team include Prof. Tapan K. Gandhi, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Delhi and Dr. Nilesh Kurwale, Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital and Research Centre, Pune, Maharashtra, India.

Their study titled “Anatomical harmonics based brain source localization with application to epilepsy” was published in Nature’s Scientific Reports.

The researchers validated the proposed source localization algorithms on clinical EEG data for the localization of the epileptogenic zone. The proposed framework offers an effective solution to clinicians in automated and rapid seizure localization.


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