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Dr. Fiona Baumer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology, Division of Child Neurology. She is a graduate of the Stanford Human Biology program and pursued medical training at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital. She returned to Stanford for epilepsy fellowship and now serves as an attending in child neurology. Her clinical efforts focus on caring for children with epilepsy. She has completed post-doctoral work in the labs of Dr. Robert Fisher and Dr. Amit Etkin, focusing on using transcranial magnetic stimulation paired with electroencephalography (TMS-EEG) to study brain dynamics in children with epilepsy. As a result of this work, she was awarded the K23 Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award from the National Institute of Health.Dr. Baumer's research focuses on understanding the impact of abnormal brain activity (called spike waves) on brain network connectivity to determine if spike waves contribute to cognitive comorbidities in children with epilepsy. Her research uses high-density EEG and TMS-EEG to study how children with epilepsy process language and to determine the impact of spike waves on this processing. The goal of her research is to determine if non-invasive stimulation techniques like TMS may be a feasible therapy to improve language, learning and cognition in this population.
Causes of Disturbed Cognition in Pediatric Epilepsy
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for BECTS
Benign epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes (BECTS) is the most common pediatric epilepsy
syndrome. Affected children typically have a mild seizure disorder, but yet have moderate
difficulties with language, learning and attention that impact quality of life more than the
seizures. Separate from the seizures, these children have very frequent abnormal activity in
their brain known as interictal epileptiform discharges (IEDs, or spikes), which physicians
currently do not treat. These IEDs arise near the motor cortex, a region in the brain that
In this study, the investigators will use a form of non-invasive brain stimulation called
transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to determine the impact of IEDs on brain regions
important for language to investigate: (1) if treatment of IEDs could improve language; and
(2) if brain stimulation may be a treatment option for children with epilepsy.
Participating children will wear electroencephalogram (EEG) caps to measure brain activity.
The investigators will use TMS to stimulate the brain region where the IEDs originate to
measure how this region is connected to other brain regions. Children will then receive a
special form of TMS called repetitive TMS (rTMS) that briefly reduces brain excitability. The
study will measure if IEDs decrease and if brain connectivity changes after rTMS is applied.
The investigators hypothesize that the IEDs cause language problems by increasing
connectivity between the motor cortex and language regions. The investigators further
hypothesize that rTMS will reduce the frequency of IEDs and also reduce connectivity between
the motor and language region
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