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Biosensor technology in diagnostics and mechanistic studies of epilepsy
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1  University of Toronto (registering DOI)

Brain seizures occur when there is abnormal neuronal firing, although the etiology of the effect is often unclear. In epilepsy, there is an occurrence of chronic aberrant neuronal and glial activity, Excitability may result from neurodegeneration or neurogenesis, abnormal synaptic connectivity, blood-brain barrier damage, or genetic channelopathies (mutations in ion-channels or the γ-aminobutyric acid A receptor (GABAAR). Typically, in terms if diagnosis, electroencephalograms (EEG) are obtained to observe the electrical activity of the brain. Structural damage or abnormalities in the brain (if present) are then imaged with computerized tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The fact that over 30 biomarkers related to epilepsy have been characterized leads to the conclusion that biosensor technology offers a potentially attractive approach to both diagnosis and real-time mentoring of the disease. These devices provide spatial and temporal signalling and the possibility for miniaturization and analyte multiplexing. However, despite the evident promise only devices for glutamate (Glu) and GABA have been the focus of research. This dissuasion will evaluate the significance of what has been achieved to date.

Our own research on biosensor technology with respect to epilepsy has been on micro-sensors for pH, Na+ and, in particular, K+. In recent years, considerable interest has been directed at the effect that alterations by mutation and malfunctions of a variety of K+ channels have on epileptic seizures Indeed, the definition “K+ channelepsies” has been specified in an attempt to describe the connection between channel characteristics and the epileptic condition. In order to monitor K+ concentration in the brain stem we have developed a sensor that combines the tandem properties of selective ion detection with anti-fouling capability. The device is based on micro-electrodes fabricated from Iridium wire. The consclusion conclude with a look at use of the electrode in biological tissue including nerves.

Keywords: Brain seizures; Epilepsy; Biomarkers; K+ microelectrode