Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder, after migraine, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease, and affects more than 3 million people in the United States. Despite the availability of numerous antiepileptic drugs, nearly one third of epilepsy patients have seizures that are not fully controlled by medication. Epilepsy surgery provides an opportunity to reduce the burden of seizures for such patients. Intracranial electrodes are often implanted during surgery to aid in the clinical diagnosis and detection of the epileptic focus and for surgical planning of the resection zone. The recordings obtained from such electrodes also provide a wealth of data for researchers interested in understanding neural mechanisms underlying epileptiform activity.
Research within our group focuses on identifying electrophysiological markers that can be used for seizure localization and prediction. Accurate mapping of the seizure onset zone has immediate clinical and practical implications, since it can help to reduce the extent of tissue resections without compromising seizure control. It can also make surgical options available to patients who would otherwise have been considered poor candidates. Additionally, our studies will help to characterize basic mechanisms of how seizures arise and propagate throughout the brain, a key requisite for achieving new therapeutic advances. Finally, the identification of biomarkers that reliably predict seizures will be important in the development of closed-loop technologies and devices aimed at aborting seizures.