CURE Epilepsy Award

Forecasting Seizure Cycles in People with Genetic Generalized Epilepsy

Maxime Baud, MD, PhD
University of Bern

Genetic generalized epilepsies are rare epilepsy syndromes characterized by the recurrence of life-threatening seizures in children, adolescents, and adults. Although they seem unpredictable, recent evidence suggests that in genetic generalized epilepsies, seizures preferentially occur at certain times (morning hours) with sleep deprivation being a potent trigger. This suggests that therapies might be targeted to periods of high seizure risk. However, this would require a reliable method for accurate seizure forecasting. Dr. Baud’s group recently developed a method to forecast seizure risk over days in focal epilepsy – akin to weather forecasting – based on EEG recordings obtained with electrodes directly implanted in the brain. For this project, they would like to test whether similar results could be obtained for people with genetic generalized epilepsy using a novel, minimally invasive EEG system. In a proof-of-concept clinical trial, the team proposes to recruit a small, tractable cohort of 15 people living with genetic generalized epilepsy, who will be implanted with a CE-labeled EEG device between the scalp and the skull (i.e. minimally invasive) and monitor their epileptic brain activity over months. Daily and hourly forecasts will be provided in a user-friendly visual format based on established algorithms. The team will study the accuracy of seizure forecasting using this method as well as any adverse effects.  

In the future, a larger trial could assess the usefulness of accurate forecasts in managing seizures and improving the quality of life of people with genetic generalized epilepsy.