Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Epilepsy by the numbers

18.05.2005


New brain monitoring method would pinpoint babies at risk for seizures

Confusion and speech problems are frequent signs of seizures, but babies offer few such clues as to what ails them. Now scientists at the Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute of the University of Florida report they have found a mathematical way to translate complicated brain wave readings into simple terms to help doctors and nurses more easily identify babies at risk for epilepsy. Epilepsy describes a group of disorders that occur when bursts of electrical activity in the brain cause seizures. It strikes more than 2 million people in the United States, according to the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke. Newborn children have the highest risk of seizures, according to the National Society for Epilepsy, because of immature brain development.

But it is difficult to tell whether babies are epileptic because they are often asleep. Even when awake, they cannot provide clues through their speech, nor do abnormal movements necessarily indicate a seizure. One way for doctors to be certain whether a newborn is having a seizure is through a diagnostic test called an electroencephalogram, or EEG, which monitors electrical activity through electrodes placed on a patient’s scalp. But the test is expensive, requires a high level of training to interpret and often isn’t readily available in hospitals.



"An EEG provides a squiggly line readout of brain activity," said Dr. Paul Carney, chief of pediatric neurology at UF’s College of Medicine and a professor at the B.J. and Eve Wilder Center for Excellence in Epilepsy Research at the McKnight Brain Institute. "Our goal is to take our findings and develop a tool that can run in real time right next to the blood pressure and other monitoring devices in a hospital. If successful it would be one of the first brain function monitors for clinical use in the neonatal intensive care unit."

UF researchers presenting today (5-17) at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Washington, D.C., say they can convert an EEG readout into a quantitative value. For example, a reading of "20" would indicate normal brain activity and a reading of "10" would indicate a seizure.

They tested their idea by reviewing the EEGs of 35 babies up to a month old, 23 of whom had normal brain function. They were able to pinpoint the newborns at risk for seizures through differences in key statistical values of brain activity. "An experienced pediatric neurologist and electroencephalographer could certainly distinguish abnormal from normal newborns by reviewing their EEGs," said Deng-Shan Shiau, an assistant research neuroscientist at UF’s Brain Dynamics Laboratory. "However, from my understanding, for abnormal neonates with lower degrees of severity, abnormal EEG patterns may only be obvious in a few segments in the entire recording. Quantitative EEG analysis may help doctors quickly identify these segments and determine if a neonate is normal."

The researchers and UF have applied for a patent for the technology. Work thus far has been funded through the American Epilepsy Society and the Epilepsy Foundation.

"Looking at electrical signaling in the newborn brain is very important," said Dr. Gregory Holmes, chief of neurology at Dartmouth Medical School and president-elect of the American Epilepsy Society. "If there are abnormal patterns of brain activity early in life, the brain is not going to wire correctly, and that’s going to stay with these children for the rest of their lives. Detecting these patterns and intervening will be very powerful."

John Pastor | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.vpha.health.ufl.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Serious children’s infections also spreading in Switzerland
26.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

nachricht New vaccine production could improve flu shot accuracy
25.07.2017 | Duke University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Large-Mouthed Fish Was Top Predator After Mass Extinction

26.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Getting closer to porous, light-responsive materials

26.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

Large, distant comets more common than previously thought

26.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>