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Bioimaging and Intervention in Neocortical Epilepsy

This Bioengineering Research Partnership (BRP), funded by NIH-NIBIB is pursuing a program of research on neocortical epilepsy and the improvement of treatment through MR imaging, using surgical resection and/or responsive neurostimulation. High resolution structural, functional and spectroscopic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain are powerful technologies for the study of epilepsy. Image-guided surgical resection has proven to be an effective treatment for many cases of medically intractable epilepsy. In neocortical epilepsy, however, the epileptogenic region is highly variable and it is often impossible to surgically remove all of the potentially epileptogenic tissue, due to its involvement in brain function. Responsive neurostimulation (RNS) has emerged as a promising complementary technique for the treatment of epilepsy which can also serve as a powerful tool for interrogating brain function. Key challenges include developing an improved understanding of the biochemical and functional signatures of the epoleptogenic region and surrounding tissue, improved modeling of neurostimulation, and the integration of this multimodal information into the planning and treatment environments. These goals will be achieved in this bioengineering research partnership (BRP) by bringing together six academic and two industrial partners to carry out the following integrated programs of scientific investigation and bioengineering development:

  1. Development of MR imaging technology for the study and treatment of neocortical epilepsy, including technology that will permit the imaging of patients with implanted responsive neurostimulators.
  2. Development of advanced image analysis strategies implemented in a robust software framework to bring together pre-, intra-, and post-operative structural, functional and biochemical image-derived information.
  3. Development of mathematical strategies to model electrical and neuronal pathways in the brain.
  4. Investigation of the utility of the information derived from the tools developed in aims 1 through 3 for the study of epilepsy at baseline and after responsive neurostimulation.
  5. Investigation of functional and biochemical changes in the brain before and after responsive neurostimutaion using image-derived meaasures.