Research at Cain
It is known that the human brain has its own rhythmic activity. Some of these brain rhythms are relatively slow - occurring only a few times per second while others are faster and occur 30 to 80 times every second. However, with recent advances in electronic instrumentation it is now very clear that the brain produces even faster rhythms. Some of these rhythms are perfectly normal like “ripples” that occur 80-200 times per second. Others are even faster but most of these high frequency oscillations (HFOs), which sometimes occur 600 times per second, are thought to be abnormal.
Many pediatric cases of incurable epilepsy are attributed to a congenital defect, known as cortical dysplasia (CD) in which the neurons fail to migrate to appropriate locations in the brain during development. This results in abnormal brain architecture and neuronal miswiring that manifests as severe seizures. Currently, no treatments exist to prevent this condition and the only option is to reduce seizures using anticonvulsants or neurosurgery.
Dr. John Swann, co-director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (NRI) at Texas Children’s and Baylor College of Medicine, co-authored an article in Science Translational Medicine that highlights key research findings presented earlier this year at the NRI conference on catastrophic childhood epilepsy.