OHSU joins $12.8 million NIH grant to improve epilepsy treatment

OHSU performs 40 to 50 awake craniotomies with language mapping annually.

OHSU, the primary clinical collaborator, brings surgical expertise to grant to improve epilepsy treatment.

The National Institutes of Health’s Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative has awarded a $12.8 million grant to the University of California San Diego to develop and enhance brain-sensing and brain-stimulating platform technologies to enable treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy.

Ahmed M. Raslan, M.D.
Ahmed M. Raslan, M.D., leads the OHSU team in the grant.

The OHSU team brings awake brain surgical expertise to the project. The team will make it possible to connect the bio-interface technology to the brain and record activity.

“This concept has been around for quite some time, but this new technology takes recording brain activity to a completely new level,” said Ahmed M. Raslan, M.D., associate professor of neurological surgery and director of epilepsy and brain mapping at the OHSU School of Medicine.

Existing technology records, in a 1-by-1-inch area, anywhere from nine to 36 points. The new technology increases that to more than 1000. For recording activity in the brain of a person with epilepsy, this will be a powerful tool, but its utility will likely extend beyond that.

“We can see things that weren’t possible to see before,” said Raslan. “There’s a lot of life and a lot of activity occurring in the in-between spaces that couldn’t be seen — we’ve see dynamics and interactions we weren’t aware of. This is the fundamental part of the technology.”

Read the UC San Diego press release about the grant, which is made under NIH’s BRAIN Initiative award number UG3NS123723.

Raslan co-developed a portion of the technology with Shadi Dayeh, Ph.D., professor of electrical engineering at the University of California San Diego, and the grant’s principal investigator. The nation-wide team also includes a team at Massachusetts General Hospital led by Sydney Cash, M.D., Ph.D.

Image above: A monitor displays a patient’s brain perceiving, processing and directing actions as she responds to prompts given during an awake brain procedure. (OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff)