Anti-epileptic drugs and surgery to remove epileptic tissue are often ineffective in controlling seizures in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy. Furthermore, these treatments can have negative side effects as these interventions are not always specific to brain cells that start seizures, medications often affect the entire brain and surgical removal of epileptic tissue may damage neighbouring areas.
Therefore, new therapies are needed that will specifically block seizures while minimally affecting the rest of the brain.
Alfredo will test the use of a new technology, called optogenetics, to block seizures in an animal model of temporal lobe epilepsy by selectively controlling brain cells with light.
Strategies to selectively block seizures through optogenetic manipulation of the medial septum, a brain structure that sends connections specifically to seizure generating brain regions in temporal lobe epilepsy, will be evaluated.