Epilepsy patients continue to benefit from the latest technology in diagnosing and treating their disorder.

The Epilepsy and Brain Mapping Program's neuromagnetism research laboratory is using a new whole head magnetoencephalogram (MEG) during pre-surgical work-up for epilepsy surgery. This work-up enables the neurologist to pinpoint the source of seizures in the brain and helps the neurosurgeon to safely remove the area.

Magnetoencephalography is an advanced technology used to locate and map normal and abnormal brain areas noninvasively. To accurately record the brain's magnetic fields, the MEG must be housed in a magnetically shielded room. This special room blocks out all other magnetic fields from the surrounding environment so the doctor can record only the brain's magnetic fields.

The Epilepsy and Brain Mapping Program (EBMP) is the only center in the greater Los Angeles area that uses the whole head MEG. We combine this sophisticated technology with electroencephalography (EEG), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), WADA testing, neuropsychometric testing, magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and PET to more precisely localize the point of seizure origin. Doctors at EBMP have found that combining these technologies is critical not only in accurately irradicating a patient's seizures but also in safely removing the seizure origin without disturbing normal brain functions.

The program's neuromagnetism research laboratory is located at 10 Pico Street, Pasadena, California. The laboratory's director and principal investigator, Dr. William W. Sutherling, is a pioneer in the field of MEG research. He is considered one of the nation's foremost experts on the subject. The present MEG lab has been supported for 15 years by funding from the National Institutes of Health. A specific shared instrumentation grant makes the MEG available to other scientists throughout the country.

While tremendous progress has been made, the MEG's potential is only beginning to be realized It offers a tremendous window on the brain to allow better noninvasive localization for epilepsy surgery and to treat the devastating disorder of medically intractable epilepsy.

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