Computational modeling of epilepsy for an experimental neurologist

Abbey B. Holt, Theoden I. Netoff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Computational modeling can be a powerful tool for an experimentalist, providing a rigorous mathematical model of the system you are studying. This can be valuable in testing your hypotheses and developing experimental protocols prior to experimenting. This paper reviews models of seizures and epilepsy at different scales, including cellular, network, cortical region, and brain scales by looking at how they have been used in conjunction with experimental data. At each scale, models with different levels of abstraction, the extraction of physiological detail, are presented. Varying levels of detail are necessary in different situations. Physiologically realistic models are valuable surrogates for experimental systems because, unlike in an experiment, every parameter can be changed and every variable can be observed. Abstract models are useful in determining essential parameters of a system, allowing the experimentalist to extract principles that explain the relationship between mechanisms and the behavior of the system. Modeling is becoming easier with the emergence of platforms dedicated to neuronal modeling and databases of models that can be downloaded. Modeling will never be a replacement for animal and clinical experiments, but it should be a starting point in designing experiments and understanding their results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-86
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental Neurology
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013


  • Computation
  • Epilepsy
  • Models
  • Networks

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