New insights into photosensitive epilepsy and seizure activity

Flashing lights can bring on seizures in certain types of epilepsy. Precisely why this happens remains unclear but it seems to be related to nerve cells firing together in abnormal ways.

Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a technique that can measure tiny variations in magnetic field at the scalp surface, caused by underlying neural activity and is comparable to the way the electroencephalogram (EEG), a standard investigation in epilepsy, measures electrical changes at the surface. An advantage with MEG is a superior ability to measure and localise neuronal oscillations and it is also non-invasive. Using this, the research team of Dr Khalid Hamandi (University Hospital of Wales), and Professor Krish Singh and Dr Suresh Muthukumaraswamy (from Cardiff University ) are measuring brain responses to a variety of low-level visual stimuli (ones that don’t usually cause seizures) in people who have photosensitive epilepsy or non-photosensitive epilepsy, and comparing these measurements with healthy controls.

The team hopes that this research will not only increase our understanding of photosensitive epilepsy, but also unravel new aspects of neuronal function that lead to abnormal synchronization. This knowledge will potentially lead to more targeted treatments and more effective epilepsy diagnosis techniques in the future.

Read more about this research into photosensitive epilepsy and seizure activity here.

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