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Cook Children’s Neuroscience Research Published in Brain Journal for 2nd Time This Year

In this study, Cook Children’s Neuroscience Research team showed that they can map the onset of electrical brain activity without having to wait for a seizure to occur

Within a few months, the Neurosciences Research Center at Cook Children’s, which is led by Professor Christos Papadelis, Ph.D., published a second paper in the esteemed neurology journal Brain. Through this work, Papadelis’ team sheds new light on the pathophysiological mechanism of the generation and propagation of epilepsy activity in the context of this disorder as a network disease.  brain journal

His findings may help physicians to understand how epilepsy activity initiates in a focal brain area of children with epilepsy propagating later in other areas of the brain. Pinpointing these onset areas, where epilepsy starts, would allow stopping seizures through surgery in children suffering from epilepsy without resecting large brain areas, which may damage physiological brain functions such as the language or movements.

Pediatric epilepsy is a neurological disorder, characterized by recurrent seizures due to abnormal electrical brain activity. It has been estimated that 4-10 out of 100 children suffer from epilepsy. A significant proportion of these children are unable to control their seizures with drugs dealing with recurrent uncontrolled seizures. These seizures may have a severe impact on the quality of child’s life leading to serious cognitive and behavioral problems as well as increased mortality. Therefore, it is critical to develop new strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of uncontrolled seizures in children with epilepsy.

Children with uncontrolled seizures undergoing surgery often require the placement of electrodes inside their brain for identifying the area where seizures are generated. Yet, seizures occur spontaneously and propagate fast from onset areas to areas of spread. Thus, we should have to wait for a seizure to occur and this may take several days. This increases the patient’s time in the hospital and thus the risk of infection from invasive electrodes placed in the patient’s brain. 

In this study, Cook Children’s Neuroscience Research team showed that they can map the onset of this propagating activity without having to wait for a seizure to occur. Such a development can shorten the patient’s stay in the hospital improving the presurgical evaluation procedure.

This study is funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and is in collaboration with the University Campus Bio Medico in Rome, Italy, the Boston Children’s Hospital, and Harvard Medical School. Margherita Matarrese, a Ph.D. student of Bioengineering under the supervision of Professor Papadelis serves as first author of this scientific paper.

Coming Soon

The Jane and John Justin Institute for Mind Health at Cook Children’s, opening in October 2023, is bringing together nine specialties under one roof. Pediatric specialists in neurological, developmental and behavioral health are changing the way we deliver health care. Together, we’re healing minds and bodies and sharing smiles that warm the soul and connecting care for kids unlike anyone else.

About Cook Children’s

Cook Children’s is more than a health care system: we strive to be an extension of your family, growing with your child from their first steps to adulthood. By collaborating to deliver on our Promise—to improve the well-being of every child in our care and our communities, we connect the dots for our patients. Between primary and specialty. Between home and medical home. Between short-term care and long-term health.

Based in Fort Worth, Texas, we’re 8,000+ dedicated team members strong, passionately caring for over 1.5 million patient encounters each year. Our integrated, not-for-profit organization spans two medical centers (including our new, state-of-the-art location in Prosper), two surgery centers, a physician network, home health services and a health plan. It also includes Child Study Center at Cook Children's, Cook Children's Health Services Inc., and Cook Children's Health Foundation. 

And our impact extends beyond the borders of Texas. We proudly treat children from virtually every state in the nation and 32 countries. By seeing the world through the eyes of children and their families from all backgrounds, we’re able to shape health care suited to them: connected by kindness, imagination and respect—with an extra dose of magical wonder.

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