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In epileptic seizures, researchers see the neurology of consciousness

Yale researchers studying epileptic seizures have shed new light on the neurological origins of consciousness.

The MRI images are different viewpoints of the brain of a child experiencing an epileptic seizure.

Areas in yellow and orange represent increased brain activity compared to its normal state, while areas in blue show decreased activity. These are the areas of the brain needed for normal consciousness.

When (person with epilepsy) epileptics lose consciousness during a variety of types of seizures, the signals converge on the same brain structures, but through different pathways, says Dr. Hal Blumenfeld, professor of neurology, neurobiology, and neurosurgery. “Understanding of these mechanisms could lead to improved treatment strategies to prevent impairment of consciousness and improve the quality of life of people with epilepsy,” he said. Blumenfeld’s research is described in the current issue of the journal Lancet Neurology.

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