CURRENT AREAS OF STUDY
Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) is a type of neuromodulation device that is designed for the treatment of medically resistant epilepsy, usually reserved for those who are not candidates for resective epilepsy surgery. Since the approval of VNS 20 years ago in North America, more than 90,000 patients (Database published in 2016) have been implanted worldwide. VNS is a relatively safe therapy with minimal complications and side effects.
People with epilepsy commonly experience chronic conditions such as headaches, poor sleep, and depression, as well as experience a lower quality of life. Our study examines how neuromodulation devices impact these common comorbidities.
CLINICAL EPILEPSY (SUDEP)
Premature mortality among epilepsy patients is well recognized, with a 3-fold increased risk of unnatural death compared to the general population. This risk is higher in patients with medically resistant epilepsy. Some of these deaths classified as sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP), but the pathological mechanisms underlying SUDEP remain poorly understood. The goal of this study is to describe the mortality in our epilepsy population and learn more about SUDEP.
The gold standard diagnostic test for pre-surgical evaluation is stereo electroencephalography (SEEG), which uses electrodes implanted inside the brain to identify area(s) of abnormal brain activity through. Despite many new technologies, numerous patients do not achieve seizure control after surgery. A better understanding of individualized patient’s pathophysiological changes in the brain network improves their outcome of controlling seizures. In collaboration with other labs, we are working to develop mathematical and statistical signal processing methods to better understand these neural patterns.