Researchers at the University of Szeged (SZTE) have developed a new solution for the treatment of epilepsy, the public relations directorate of the higher education institution informed MTI.
Antal Berényi – who published the results of his research with his colleagues in the patinated neuroscience journal Brain in Oxford – explained that epilepsy affects 60-70 million people worldwide. This disease represents a € 20 billion market for the pharmaceutical industry in the European Union alone, while medicines are ineffective for a third of patients.
The effectiveness of clinical brain stimulation devices developed for such cases is, despite all efforts, only around 50 percent. This is because each uses a predetermined pacing pattern – the situation was characterized by an assistant professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Szeged.
The results of the experiments of the researchers in Szeged call attention to the need for a change of attitude. Each seizure requires a unique pacing pattern, as “canned” pacing in many cases even prolongs the seizure state. In addition to timing, the location of pacing is also critical. Many epileptic seizures start from the hippocampus. This large area of brain, similar in shape to the letter C, is, for understandable reasons, not stimulated by a single electrode. An article in Brain suggests an effective intervention point for electrotherapy for such “problematic” cases.
The staff of SZTE was looking for a small area of the brain to which the electrode responsible for its stimulation could fit well. This is the area in the deeper part of the brain, the medial septum, which, despite its well-targeted size, can keep the whole hippocampus, which is otherwise completely unstimulated, under very strong control. Experts hypothesize that electrical stimuli from outside the skull will also have a sufficient effect on medial septal neurons.
“When an epileptic seizure starts, you need very fast algorithms to be able to generate an stimulus that matches what is happening in the brain almost immediately, in a fraction of a second.” – emphasized Antal Berényi. In addition to medicine, mathematics, informatics and electronics play an important role in their results, because in this way they managed to find the procedure by which they can adapt the nature of the stimulation to the pattern of the given seizure.
Following the first basic research observations of the Szeged research group on the medial septum in 2014, the applied research results were obtained last year, which will be followed in the near future by the industrial application, for which the development of an appropriate tool is required.
Source: Patika Magazin Online by www.patikamagazin.hu.
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