Electrophysiological Biomarkers of Epilepsy

Richard J. Staba, Matt Stead, Gregory A. Worrell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


In patients being evaluated for epilepsy and in animal models of epilepsy, electrophysiological recordings are carried to capture seizures to determine the existence of epilepsy. Electroencephalography recordings from the scalp, or sometimes directly from the brain, are also used to locate brain areas where seizure begins, and in surgical treatment help plan the area for resection. As seizures are unpredictable and can occur infrequently, ictal recordings are not ideal in terms of time, cost, or risk when, for example, determining the efficacy of existing or new anti-seizure drugs, evaluating potential anti-epileptogenic interventions, or for prolonged intracerebral electrode studies. Thus, there is a need to identify and validate other electrophysiological biomarkers of epilepsy that could be used to diagnose, treat, cure, and prevent epilepsy. Electroencephalography recordings in the epileptic brain contain other interictal electrophysiological disturbances that can occur more frequently than seizures, such as interictal spikes (IIS) and sharp waves, and from invasive studies using wide bandwidth recording and small diameter electrodes, the discovery of pathological high-frequency oscillations (HFOs) and microseizures. Of IIS, HFOs, and microseizures, a significant amount of recent research has focused on HFOs in the pathophysiology of epilepsy. Results from studies in animals with epilepsy and presurgical patients have consistently found a strong association between HFOs and epileptogenic brain tissue that suggest HFOs could be a potential biomarker of epileptogenicity and epileptogenesis. Here, we discuss several aspects of HFOs, as well as IIS and microseizures, and the evidence that supports their role as biomarkers of epilepsy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)334-346
Number of pages13
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Epileptogenesis
  • Epileptogenicity
  • High frequency oscillation
  • Ictogenesis
  • Interictal spike
  • Microseizure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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