Research Snapshot: Dr. Christopher Butson and Chantel Charlebois

RS: Epilepsy
Patient-specific, stimulation-dependent connectivity to structural networks is predictive of seizure reduction.

By Todd Taylor

For patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy, or MTLE, responsive neurostimulation can help reduce seizures. However, outcomes are varied, and few patients become completely seizure free.

A new study led by University of Florida neuroscientist and biomedical engineer Christopher Butson, Ph.D., and University of Utah graduate student Chantel Charlebois sought to identify specific brain networks to target for the best outcomes for these patients. The findings were published in the journal Epilepsia.

The researchers conducted a retrospective study of 22 patients with MTLE, a form of epilepsy involving the medial structures of the temporal lobe, who were treated with responsive neurostimulation. This form of neurostimulation involves an implanted device that delivers short bursts of electrical pulses to help prevent seizures before they begin. Using patient-specific computer models combined with a tool to enhance brain mapping, the researchers predicted which locations of stimulation were correlated with a reduction of seizures.

“We identified brain networks that mediate seizure reduction after mesial temporal responsive neurostimulation,” said Charlebois. “The results could be used to target stimulation in future patients.”

“Excitingly, similar regions have been implicated in the response to stimulation of the anterior nucleus of the thalamus for epilepsy, potentially suggesting a common therapeutic network and bringing us a step closer to identifying a connectomic biomarker of seizure reduction,” added Butson, the Fixel Endowed Chair of Neurotherapeutics.

Read the article in Epilepsia.