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New Scan A ‘Paradigm Shift’ in Epilepsy Research

New Scan A 'Paradigm Shift' in Epilepsy ResearchAn innovative new study merges engineering and clinical expertise to develop a revolutionary method to diagnose and treat epilepsy patients.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic believe a new type of non-invasive brain scan — taken immediately after a seizure — will provide advanced insight into possible causes and treatments for epilepsy patients. 

The new findings could benefit millions of people who are unable to control their epilepsy with medication.

The research is published online in the journal Brain.

Researchers say the study resulted in several significant findings:

  • Important data about brain function can be gathered through non-invasive 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 will help determine the side of the brain where the seizures originate.

“This is the first-ever study where new non-invasive methods were used to study patients after a seizure instead of during a seizure,” said Dr. Bin He, a biomedical engineering professor in the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering and senior author of the study. “It’s really a paradigm shift for research in epilepsy.”

Epilepsy affects nearly 3 million Americans and 50 million people worldwide. Although medications and other treatments help many people of all ages who live with epilepsy, about 1 million people in the U.S. and 17 million people worldwide continue to have seizures that can severely limit their lives.

Medical researchers have always faced the challenge of determining the part of the brain responsible for the seizures. Learning the specific site of the seizure helps physicians determine the best possible treatment.

In the past, most research has focused on studying patients while they were having a seizure, or what is technically known as the “ictal” phase of a seizure. Some of these studies involved invasive methods such as surgery to collect data.

In the new study, researchers used a novel approach by studying the brains of 28 patients immediately after seizures, or what is technically know as the “postictal” phase of a seizure.

They used a specialized type of non-invasive EEG with 76 electrodes attached to the scalp for gathering data in contrast to most previous research that used 32 electrodes. The researchers used specialized imaging technology to gather data about the patient.

The findings may lead to innovative means of locating the brain regions responsible for seizures in individual patients using non-invasive strategies.

Source: University of Minnesota

Human brain scan photo by shutterstock.

New Scan A ‘Paradigm Shift’ in Epilepsy Research

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). New Scan A ‘Paradigm Shift’ in Epilepsy Research. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 2, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 27 Aug 2012)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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