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Circuit breaker: One Stanford scientist and his quest to control epileptic seizures

Welcome to Biomed Bites, a weekly feature that introduces readers to some of Stanford's most innovative researchers.

John Huguenard, PhD, was wooed by the magic of anti-epileptic drugs when he was in graduate school at Duke University.  "I was fascinated by the idea that a drug that you could take would block the seizure without affecting normal brain function," Huguenard says in the video above.

Now a professor of neurology and neurological sciences at Stanford, Huguenard and his colleagues have taken a deep dive into the brain's circuits, trying to figure out exactly how and why the circuits "go haywire" during an epileptic seizure and what can be done to prevent that from happening.

He has discovered that those broad-based anti-epileptic drugs that once fascinated him might not be the best approach to treat epilepsy. "We're learning that if we can focus our therapies on very small portions of the brain, we can reduce the chances of side  effects even more," Huguenard says.

Learn more about Stanford Medicine's Biomedical Innovation Initiative and about other faculty leaders who are driving biomedical innovation here.

Previously: Brain's wiring more dynamic than originally thought, The brain makes its own Valium: Built-in seizure brake? and Light-switch seizure control? In a bright new study, researchers show how

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