• Neurociències

[SCItalk] The Dynamic Epileptic Brain

Christophe Bernard
Aix-Marseille University, INSERM, INS, France


Epilepsy is the second most common brain disorder after migraine, affecting 1%-2% of the world population. It remains drug-resistant in 30% of the cases. It is often stigmatized, which results in stressful situations for affected individuals and their families. Yet, there is nothing special about epilepsy. Epileptic seizures are “normal” activities of the brain. They are found across species, from flies to humans. In fact, seizures are built-in activities. That is to say, they are endogenous to the brain. We, as individuals, just differ by their probability of occurrence. In patients with epilepsy, the probability is just greater than in non-affected individuals. I will show that seizures are in fact a very simple form of brain activity and that they follow simple mathematical rules that are universal across species and brain regions. This knowledge, gained from non-linear system theory, allows us to propose the first scientifically based classification of seizures. Finally, I will discuss how this knowledge can be used, in the context of neurosurgery to render drug-resistant patients seizure-free.



Christophe Bernard is Director of Research at the System Neuroscience Institute in Marseille, France. He was originally trained in Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. He obtained his PhD in Neuroscience in 1990. His main interest is to understand the mechanisms underlying the construction of an epileptic brain as well as the mechanisms underlying seizure genesis and propagation, focusing on temporal lobe epilepsy. These research themes are being addressed using a wide array of disciplines, including electron microscopy, morphology, immunohistochemistry, in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology, behavior, mathematics and modeling. His team is involved in the development of new technologies based on organic transistors to measure and control brain activity, and also develops The Virtual Mouse Brain for whole brain approaches.

Christophe Bernard is Editor-in-Chief of eNeuro, the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) online open access journal.



Host: Francisco Ciruela - Neuropharmacology and Pain group