The Skoch Lab is focused on utilizing optical imaging techniques to better understand how seizures spread through the brain. Currently, in clinical practice, monitoring seizures more and more accurately has been a problem of getting metal electrodes ever closer to the areas of interest and increased electrode density to produce higher resolution seizure maps. Recently adopted surgical monitoring techniques such as stereo EEG have willingly reduced some of the two-dimensional surface resolution provided by grid electrodes for 3-dimensional data.
On the basic science / technology side, optical imaging has become a dominant force in observing and quantifying everything from the detection of single molecules to brain tumors. The incredibly high spatial and temporal resolution afforded by modern optical imaging equipment makes such technology optimal for studying brain activity.
We believe that techniques such as optical intrinsic signaling that can detect changes in the brain without extrinsic contrast agents hold great potential as tools for studying epileptic phenomenon in models as well as more accurately detecting sick areas of patient brains that are epilepsy surgery targets. Accurate localization of neocortical epileptogenic zones is paramount to surgical success.
Surgery for treatment of epilepsy is highly effective and largely underutilized. This underutilization is in part due to hesitations among patients and referring physicians due to the potential risks of brain surgery. In addition to physician and community education efforts, our research aimed toward making epilepsy surgery even safer, more minimal, and more accurate, should help lift the stigma that surrounds this treatment option.