Predicting quakes may help in forecasting seizures

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London, Jan 19 (UNI) Techniques used in predicting earthquakes may prove helpful in developing ways to forecast epileptic seizures, according to a new research.

The study found striking similarities in electrical activity in the brain before and during seizures and seismological data around earthquakes.

Seizures and quakes are both preceded usually by small, barely detectable tremors and, as with an earthquake, the longer it has been since a seizure, the longer it will be until the next one.

Scientists believe these shared features mean that the patterns are not random and could even be governed by similar mathematical rules.

Epilepsy, one of the most common long-term neurological disorders, affects around 50 million people the world over.

Often it is managed by drugs that decreases brain's electrical activity, but in serious cases affected part of the brain is removed by surgery.

Seizures often start suddenly in a region of the brain and can then spread to engulf the organ. An earthquake also appears as a sudden, potentially damaging vibration focused around a relatively well-defined point. The researchers said both seizures and earthquakes could be thought of as ''relaxation events'', in which accumulated energy is suddenly dissipated, Guardian reported.

The study suggested that the similarities between electrical activity in the brain and seismic activity could bring prediction and prevention of seizures a step closer.

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