Elodie Lopes, INESC TEC researcher and PhD student of the Doctoral Program in Biomedical Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP), received the award for best oral presentation at the 34th National Epileptology Congress, which took place on March 11 and 12 at Fundação Engenheiro António de Almeida (Porto), and gathered the scientific and medical community in the field of neurology.

Her presentation, “Ictal and Interictal Characteristics of the Local Field Potentials of the Anterior Thalamic Nuclei in Patients with Epilepsy and Chronic Deep Brain Stimulation”, addressed a very rare topic in this scientific area, consisting of recording and studying bio signals of epileptic seizures collected from the deepest areas of the brain – i.e., “basal ganglia”-, currently studied as therapeutic targets for deep brain stimulation therapies to address this neurological condition.

This study concluded that the analysis of said signals could lead to the early detection of seizures. This leads to many possibilities for the development of a closed-loop stimulation system, in which the neurostimulator is trained to release electrical discharges in the time frame of a seizure, thus preserving the stimulator battery and reducing the undesirable effects of patients who currently rely on chronic stimulation.

According to Elodie Lopes, this honourable mention demonstrates the value of the symbiosis between the medical and engineering dimensions, and the advantages that this relationship could bring to achieve better clinical results in epilepsy.

The Congress participants addressed several topics related to Epilepsy and Sleep, namely the importance of the latter in the definition of the epileptogenic zone and associated sleep disorders, or differential diagnosis of epileptic seizures.