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Neural diffusivity and pre-emptive epileptic seizure intervention

Fagerholm, ED; Tangwiriyasakul, C; Friston, KJ; Violante, IR; Williams, S; Carmichael, DW; Perani, S; ... Richardson, MP; + view all (2020) Neural diffusivity and pre-emptive epileptic seizure intervention. PLOS Computational Biology , 16 (12) , Article e1008448. 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1008448. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

The propagation of epileptic seizure activity in the brain is a widespread pathophysiology that, in principle, should yield to intervention techniques guided by mathematical models of neuronal ensemble dynamics. During a seizure, neural activity will deviate from its current dynamical regime to one in which there are significant signal fluctuations. In silico treatments of neural activity are an important tool for the understanding of how the healthy brain can maintain stability, as well as of how pathology can lead to seizures. The hope is that, contained within the mathematical foundations of such treatments, there lie potential strategies for mitigating instabilities, e.g. via external stimulation. Here, we demonstrate that the dynamic causal modelling neuronal state equation generalises to a Fokker-Planck formalism if one extends the framework to model the ways in which activity propagates along the structural connections of neural systems. Using the Jacobian of this generalised state equation, we show that an initially unstable system can be rendered stable via a reduction in diffusivity–i.e., by lowering the rate at which neuronal fluctuations disperse to neighbouring regions. We show, for neural systems prone to epileptic seizures, that such a reduction in diffusivity can be achieved via external stimulation. Specifically, we show that this stimulation should be applied in such a way as to temporarily mirror the activity profile of a pathological region in its functionally connected areas. This counter-intuitive method is intended to be used pre-emptively–i.e., in order to mitigate the effects of the seizure, or ideally even prevent it from occurring in the first place. We offer proof of principle using simulations based on functional neuroimaging data collected from patients with idiopathic generalised epilepsy, in which we successfully suppress pathological activity in a distinct sub-network prior to seizure onset. Our hope is that this technique can form the basis for future real-time monitoring and intervention devices that are capable of treating epilepsy in a non-invasive manner.

Type: Article
Title: Neural diffusivity and pre-emptive epileptic seizure intervention
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1008448
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1008448
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2020 Fagerholm et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: Epilepsy, Mass diffusivity, Free energy, Electroencephalography, Eigenvalues, Diffusion tensor imaging, Functional electrical stimulation, System instability
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10116656
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