McGill University and the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, are the beneficiaries of the latest Epilepsy Canada research grant.
With the awarding of the 2017 Fellowship Grant for Clinical and Basic Sciences, researchers at McGill University, now have the funding to further their knowledge on the regions of the brain where seizures begin. The project, Propagation of interictal high-frequency oscillations in focal epilepsy, will be carried out by Neurologist Karina González-Otárula, MD under the supervision of Jean Gotman PhD and François Dubeau MD.
A major challenge in treating patients with drug-resistant focal epilepsy is to accurately identify the epiletogenic zone (EZ), which is the area responsible for spontaneous seizures. Doctor González-Otárula’s submission explained that “To date there is not a unique diagnostic method, nor a combination of methods that reliably delineates the EZ”
The McGill team hope to build on what is known to date: that High Frequency Oscillations (HFOs) in the EEG of epilepsy patients are the best indicators of brain regions where seizures start. They will study the EEG data of patients with drug-resistant focal epilepsy, comparing pre-and-post surgical results of the primary and secondarily involved areas of brain tissue, to better understand the importance of each.
What would be the impact? If it is possible to reliably select the regions of epileptogenic tissue containing HFOs that are the indispensable ones to be removed (resected), it will have a positive impact on the postsurgical seizure outcome of patients with focal epilepsy. It will also facilitate the delineation of the resection, possibly avoiding resecting unnecessarily large brain areas.
Work is starting immediately and results are expected to be known in the final quarter of 2017.
Epilepsy Canada is a national non-profit organization that supports research into all aspects of epilepsy. The association is very proud of the high quality of young researchers and the research projects it sponsors at leading Canadian universities and medical institutions. Its peer review process helps ensure that we are making the best possible use of research dollars by investing in the most promising epilepsy research.