Skip to Main Content
Epilepsy is a relatively common disease, afflicting 1%-2% of the population, yet many epileptic patients are not sufficiently helped by current pharmacological therapies. Recent reports have suggested that chaos control techniques may be useful for electrically manipulating epileptiform bursting behavior in vitro and could possibly lead to an alternative method for preventing seizures. We implemented chaos control of spontaneous bursting in the rat hippocampal slice using robust control techniques: stable manifold placement (SMP) and an adaptive tracking (AT) algorithm designed to overcome nonstationarity. We examined the effect of several factors, including control radius size and synaptic plasticity, on control efficacy. AT improved control efficacy over basic SMP control, but relatively frequent stimulation was still necessary and very tight control was only achieved for brief stretches. A novel technique was developed for validating period-1 orbit detection in noisy systems by forcing the system directly onto the period-1 orbit. This forcing analysis suggested that period-1 orbits were indeed present but that control would be difficult because of high noise levels and nonstationarity. Noise might actually be lower in vivo, where regulatory inputs to the hippocampus are still intact. Thus, it may still be feasible to use chaos control algorithms for preventing epileptic seizures.