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Nat Rev Neurosci. 2008 Aug;9(8):626-37. doi: 10.1038/nrn2416. Epub 2008 Jul 2.

Computer modelling of epilepsy.

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Department of Physiology, State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York, USA.


Epilepsy is a complex set of disorders that can involve many areas of the cortex, as well as underlying deep-brain systems. The myriad manifestations of seizures, which can be as varied as déjà vu and olfactory hallucination, can therefore give researchers insights into regional functions and relations. Epilepsy is also complex genetically and pathophysiologically: it involves microscopic (on the scale of ion channels and synaptic proteins), macroscopic (on the scale of brain trauma and rewiring) and intermediate changes in a complex interplay of causality. It has long been recognized that computer modelling will be required to disentangle causality, to better understand seizure spread and to understand and eventually predict treatment efficacy. Over the past few years, substantial progress has been made in modelling epilepsy at levels ranging from the molecular to the socioeconomic. We review these efforts and connect them to the medical goals of understanding and treating the disorder.

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