An artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm that can detect subtle brain abnormalities which cause epileptic seizures has been developed by a UCL-led team of international researchers.
The Multicentre Epilepsy Lesion Detection project (MELD) used over 1,000 patient MRI scans from 22 global epilepsy centres to develop the algorithm, which provides reports of where abnormalities are in cases of drug-resistant focal cortical dysplasia (FCD) — a leading cause of epilepsy.
FCDs are areas of the brain that have developed abnormally and often cause drug-resistant epilepsy. It is typically treated with surgery, however identifying the lesions from an MRI is an ongoing challenge for clinicians, as MRI scans in FCDs can look normal.
To develop the algorithm, the team quantified cortical features from the MRI scans, such as how thick or folded the cortex/brain surface was, and used around 300,000 locations across the brain.
Researchers then trained the algorithm on examples labelled by expert radiologists as either being a healthy brain or having FCD — dependant on their patterns and features.
The findings, published in Brain, found that overall the algorithm was able to detect the FCD in 67% of cases in the cohort (538 participants).
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