Date of Award

Fall 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Alan W. L. Chiu


The coupled oscillator model has previously been used for the simulation of neuronal activities in in vitro rat hippocampal slice seizure data and the evaluation of seizure suppression algorithms. Each model unit can be described as either an oscillator which can generate action potential spike trains without inputs, or a threshold-based unit. With the change of only one parameter, each unit can either be an oscillator or a threshold-based spiking unit. This would eliminate the need for a new set of equations for each type of unit. Previous analysis has suggested that long kernel duration and imbalance of inhibitory feedback can cause the system to intermittently transition into and out of ictal activities. The state transitions of seizure-like events were investigated here; specifically, how the system excitability may change when the system undergoes transitions in the preictal and postictal processes. Analysis showed that the area of the excitation kernel is positively correlated with the mean firing rate of the ictal activity. The kernel duration is also correlated to the amount of ictal activity. The transition into ictal activity involved the escape from the saddle point foci in the state space trajectory identified by using Newton's method.

The ability to accurately anticipate and suppress seizures is an important endeavor that has tremendous impact on improving the quality of lives for epileptic patients. The stimulation studies have suggested that an electrical stimulation strategy that uses the intrinsic high complexity dynamics of the biological system may be more effective in reducing the duration of seizure-like activities in the computer model. In this research, we evaluate this strategy on an in vitro rat hippocampal slice magnesium-free model. Simulated postictal field potential data generated by an oscillator-based hippocampal network model was applied to the CA1 region of the rat hippocampal slices through a multi-electrode array (MEA) system. It was found to suppress and delay the onset of future seizures temporarily. The average inter-seizure time was found to be significantly prolonged after postictal stimulation when compared to the negative control trials and bipolar square wave signals. The result suggests that neural signal-based stimulation related to resetting may be suitable for seizure control in the clinical environment.