January 30, 2018

Graduate student uses AI to advance epilepsy research

Artificial intelligence may be the next great medical tool for those with epilepsy, according to a research project done by Ph.D candidate Yogatheesan Varatharajah.

His research with AI resulted in a technique that can identify the brain regions that generate seizures, without requiring the inspection of actual seizures.

“While there is a lot of skepticism about whether artificial intelligence has a negative impact on humanity, we firmly believe that AI can be used to make mankind stronger and our work is a perfect example of that,” Varatharajah said.

Varatharajah’s technique helps forego the manual way to find these regions, which is done through electroencephalograms (EEG). The EEG test is a way for epileptologists, neurologists specializing in epilepsy, to record information from brain regions by attaching small, flat metal discs (electrodes) to your scalp.

“Later we found out that we need not even record seizures, and only non-seizure recordings can be sufficient to achieve accurate identification of seizure-generating regions,” Varatharajah said. “This was even more exciting because it has the potential to transform the way epilepsy surgery is currently performed.”