image_alt_text
6

Dominique Durand, Ph.D.

AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 1998

Researchers Discover Moving, Electrically “silent” Source Initiates Brain Waves

Via CWRU Daily | May 24, 2016

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University discovered a new way that brain waves spread through the hippocampus—a possible step toward understanding and treating epilepsy.

The researchers discovered a traveling spike generator that appears to move across the hippocampus—a part of the brain mainly associated with memory—and change direction, while generating brain waves. The generator itself, however, produces no electrical signal.

“In epilepsy, we’ve thought the focus of seizures is fixed and, in severe cases, that part of the brain is surgically removed,” said Dominique Durand, the Elmer Lincoln Lindseth Professor in Biomedical Engineering at Case School of Engineering and leader of the study. “But if the focus, or source, of seizures moves—as we’ve described—that’s problematic.”

The findings, in the Journal of Neuroscience, builds on Durand’s work published late last year, identifying brain waves that appear to be spread through a mild electrical field—not the known transmissions through synapses, diffusion or gap junctions.

...

Researchers Discover Moving, Electrically “silent” Source Initiates Brain Waves

Via Case THINK | April 20, 2016

Brain waves that spread through the hippocampus are initiated by a method not seen before—a possible step toward understanding and treating epilepsy, according to researchers at Case Western Reserve University.
The researchers discovered a traveling spike generator that appears to move across the hippocampus—a part of the brain mainly associated with memory—and change direction, while generating brain waves. The generator itself, however, produces no electrical signal.
“In epilepsy, we’ve thought the focus of seizures is fixed and, in severe cases, that part of the brain is surgically removed,” said Dominique Durand, Elmer Lincoln Lindseth Professor in Biomedical Engineering at Case School of Engineering and leader of the study. “But if the focus, or source, of seizures moves—as we’ve described—that’s problematic.”

...

Brain Waves May Be Spread By Weak Electrical Field

Via Science Daily | January 14, 2016

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University may have found a new way information is communicated throughout the brain.

Their discovery could lead to identifying possible new targets to investigate brain waves associated with memory and epilepsy and better understand healthy physiology.

They recorded neural spikes traveling at a speed too slow for known mechanisms to circulate throughout the brain. The only explanation, the scientists say, is the wave is spread by a mild electrical field they could detect. Computer modeling and in-vitro testing support their theory.

“Others have been working on such phenomena for decades, but no one has ever made these connections,” said Steven J. Schiff, director of the Center for Neural Engineering at Penn State University, who was not involved in the study. “The implications are that such directed fields can be used to modulate both pathological activities, such as seizures, and to interact with cognitive rhythms that help regulate a variety of processes in the brain.”

Scientists Dominique Durand, Elmer Lincoln Lindseth Professor in Biomedical Engineering at Case School of Engineering and leader of the research, former graduate student Chen Sui and current PhD students Rajat Shivacharan and Mingming Zhang, report their findings in The Journal of Neuroscience.

“Researchers have thought that the brain’s endogenous electrical fields are too weak to propagate wave transmission,” Durand said. “But it appears the brain may be using the fields to communicate without synaptic transmissions, gap junctions or diffusion.”

...