Seizure Control in a Computational Model Using a Reinforcement Learning Stimulation Paradigm

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Neuromodulation technologies such as vagus nerve stimulation and deep brain stimulation, have shown some efficacy in controlling seizures in medically intractable patients. However, inherent patient-to-patient variability of seizure disorders leads to a wide range of therapeutic efficacy. A patient specific approach to determining stimulation parameters may lead to increased therapeutic efficacy while minimizing stimulation energy and side effects. This paper presents a reinforcement learning algorithm that optimizes stimulation frequency for controlling seizures with minimum stimulation energy. We apply our method to a computational model called the epileptor. The epileptor model simulates inter-ictal and ictal local field potential data. In order to apply reinforcement learning to the Epileptor, we introduce a specialized reward function and state-space discretization. With the reward function and discretization fixed, we test the effectiveness of the temporal difference reinforcement learning algorithm (TD(0)). For periodic pulsatile stimulation, we derive a relation that describes, for any stimulation frequency, the minimal pulse amplitude required to suppress seizures. The TD(0) algorithm is able to identify parameters that control seizures quickly. Additionally, our results show that the TD(0) algorithm refines the stimulation frequency to minimize stimulation energy thereby converging to optimal parameters reliably. An advantage of the TD(0) algorithm is that it is adaptive so that the parameters necessary to control the seizures can change over time. We show that the algorithm can converge on the optimal solution in simulation with slow and fast inter-seizure intervals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1750012
JournalInternational journal of neural systems
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 World Scientific Publishing Company.


  • Epilepsy
  • closed-loop
  • deep brain stimulation
  • neuromodulation
  • reinforcement learning


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