Peter Nakaji, MD: The State of Science for Epilepsy Surgery


The chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Banner-University Medical Center discusses the current state of the science being done in the realm of epilepsy surgery.

“I really wonder about using the data that we’re getting [on artificial intelligence]…is there a better way to find where the actual target is? For myself as a surgeon, of course, that’s critical.”

At the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) 2020 annual meeting, a number of abstracts were accepted for presentation on improvements in epilepsy surgery, including attempts to improve the tactics and targeting involved in such procedures. Additionally, there were a few examples of ways to measure epileptic waves and thus predict seizures with artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithms.1,2

For a neurosurgeon like Peter Nakaji, MD, chair, Department of Neurosurgery, Banner-University Medical Center, these studies and this research is critical. He told NeurologyLive that one of the biggest areas of potential is the ability to predict epileptic waves and model them to better inform clinicians about when seizures might occur. As well, advances in this area based on feedback from implantable devices might be able to improve target location for epilepsy surgery.

In this interview with NeurologyLive, Nakaji explains his thoughts on the current state of the science being done in the realm of epilepsy surgery, from the prediction of seizures and outcomes to the new methods of surgery and stimulation, as well as what challenges are being faced by those who are performing these procedures.

For more coverage of AAN 2020, click here.


1. Astrada MA, Marti AS, McLachlan R, et al. Can We Accurately Lateralize the Epileptogenic Zone in Patients Who Have Seizure Clusters? A Study Using Stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG). Neurology. 2020;94(15 Suppl): 1710.

2. Athreya A, Willie J, Gross R, Fasano R, Karakis I. Withdrawal of Antiepileptic Drugs After Stereotactic Laser Amygdalohippocampotomy. Neurology. 2020;94(15 Suppl): 2440.

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