A team from Bern has won this year’s Research Recognition Award which is presented by the Swiss League Against Epilepsy and comes with prize money of CHF 25,000. The award-winning project involves research into an innovative diagnosis method which uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Epilepsy League president Prof. Stephan Rüegg, award winner Prof. Roland Wiest and Dr. Klaus Meyer (from left to right).

(Aarau) The Swiss League Against Epilepsy has presented its 2018 Research Recognition Award to Prof. Roland Wiest, Dr. Claus Kiefer and Prof. Kaspar Schindler of the University Hospital of Bern. The award was presented on 30 May 2018 during the annual meeting of the Swiss League Against Epilepsy, which this year was held jointly in Aarau with the Swiss Society of Clinical Neurophysiology (SGKN). The laudation was given by the Epilepsy League board member Dr. Klaus Meyer from Tschugg.

The award-winning project is entitled “Neuronal current imaging – the clinical application of a non-invasive MR-based investigation method to detect local epilepsy-related magnetic field inhomogeneities after a first epileptic seizure”. Preliminary work has already shown that magnetic field effects in persons affected by epilepsy can be measured during an MRI scan. There has been an obvious correlation between the effects measured and active epilepsy: after a successful operation which stopped all seizure susceptibility, the field effects were no longer detectable.

Now the project team wants to systematically use this method on patients who have had a first epileptic seizure and are due to have an MRI in any case, in order to test and improve it. The long-term objective would be to develop a new method of detecting epileptic activity which could be used alongside the established electroencephalogram (EEG) method. The new MR technique can even detect magnetic field changes, which suggest epileptic activity, inside the skull – without the need for an operation. This would be a huge advantage over the EEG method, which can only measure changes on the surface or which requires sensors to be implanted under anaesthetic. Further applications are conceivable: “If the project is successful, its significance could reach beyond epilepsy,” said Klaus Meyer in his laudation.