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Epilepsy Treatment Uses Superconductors

Epilepsy is a neurological problem of the brain causing unprovoked seizures. Although epilepsy is first observed during childhood, epilepsy affects people of all ages. The most common cause for epilepsy is either a head injury or an erratic cognitional development.

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, Epilepsy is defined as

"any of various disorders marked by abnormal electrical discharges in the brain and typically manifested by sudden brief episodes of altered or diminished consciousness, involuntary movements, or convulsion"

Some researchers have found out that during an epileptic attack, a portion of the brain malfunctions and sends violent meaningless signals. In today's scenario, a permanent solution to cure the disorder is to remove that part. But the brain is not just a composite of isolated components. It is difficult to pinpoint the damaged portion precisely and all parts of the brain are interlinked and rely on each other for the normal functioning of the body. Any damage to the neighbouring parts of the damaged portion caused during the surgery might bring an unexpected physical or mental impairment.

The brain communicates within itself and to other parts of the body through electrical pulses. These electrical pulses are the reason for the presence of a weak magnetic field inside the human body.  The damaged portion can be located by detecting the magnetic field produced during the attack. These subtle magnetic fields are too small to detect by conventional methods. Superconducting magnetic sensors called SQUIDs can detect subtle magnetic field of the order of picotesla. Knowing the exact position of the damaged portion and also other parts of the brain responsible for primary functions such as those responsible for speech, motor activities, cognition etc. may help in avoiding major surgical errors.

For more information on Epilepsy, click here.


1. MagnetoEncephaloGraphy

2. Applied Physics Textbook

* Image Courtesy Exercise Plays Vital Role Maintaining Brain Health by A Health Blog licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0



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