Students from Rice University computational and applied mathematics (CAAM) developed a software-based technique to determine where electrodes should be placed in the brain for epilepsy patients. Known as BrainGuide, this method could be used by neurosurgeons to help patients with non-treatable forms of disease to pinpoint the right placement of probes within seconds.
The students, Alex Gardner, Wendy Knight and Evan Toler, said instead of doctors hand calculating data that is processed over several days, they wanted to develop a computational program that takes 30 seconds to figure out optimal regions of the brain to insert the probes. This could save a lot of time once the research is refined and tested further.
The students claim it does not only save time, but ensures techniques that are safer than previous methods.
“It’s ideal if we find trajectories that are perpendicular to the skull, because they’re easier to screw and more likely to follow the trajectory that we prescribe,” Gardner said, according to Rice University. “That weighs in almost as heavily as the vasculature does.”
Currently, the team is focused on better finding specific areas for probe insertion for epilepsy patients in order to mitigate seizures, but their research could help a much more broad area of medical needs.