A new study published in the scientific journal, NeuroImage, may help explain how rhythmic stimulations at certain frequencies such as flickering images can lead to epileptic seizures.In a press release, Senior Author Dr Marc Goodfellow, at the University of Exeter, said: “Our findings help to elucidate mechanisms of the generation and spreading of epileptic seizures in the brain”.The team used a mathematical model of brain dynamics, to study how seizures are generated. They showed that neuronal tissue displays epileptic-like activity when exposed to enhanced stimulation of certain frequencies. These may be generated by the brain’s own activity or come from the outside such as flashing images.According to the researchers, this is the result of the ability of neuronal tissue to undergo resonance. Visual stimulation with frequencies close to alpha rhythm, a type of electrical activity in the brain that has a frequency of 8–13 Hz, may interfere with the natural alpha activity occurring in a region of the brain called the visual cortex. This can lead to an increase in the amplitude of the electrical discharges in a “snowball effect” that triggers an epileptic seizure.”This work shows that the temporal characteristics of the random activity of the brain can have profound effects on its behaviour,” said Co-author Dr Jordi Garcia-Ojalvo, at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, in Barcelona.Dr Goodfellow added: “This research provides further insight into ways that communication within brain networks can possibly lead to the occurrence of seizures.”According to the authors, future improvements in computational modelling may help develop tools that are useful for the treatment of epilepsy.Author: Dr Özge ÖzkayaClick here for more articles about brain science including genetics.