Temporal lobe epilepsy is a disease that research has shown originates in specific spots in the brain before a person experiences a seizure. Being able to disrupt the electric storm that starts brewing can help control the disease and researchers at University of California Irvine have been doing just that with laboratory mice.
Applying optogenetics, the team introduced special proteins to the mice called opsins that react to light and subsequently activate or inhibit the activity of neurons. Using EEG they were able to monitor brain activity and, once an oncoming seizure was detected, activated light through fiber optic cables implanted in the brain. Their success is documented in the latest Nature Communications and the team believes that clinical applications are around the corner.
UC Irvine press release: UCI neuroscientists create fiber-optic method of arresting epileptic seizures
Study in Nature Communications: On-demand optogenetic control of spontaneous seizures in temporal lobe epilepsy