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Dr. Taufik  Valiante - University Health Network. Toronto, ON, CA

Dr. Taufik Valiante Dr. Taufik  Valiante

Neurosurgeon, Krembil Neuroscience Centre | University Health Network

Toronto, ON, CANADA

Leader in treatment and research for epilepsy






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Epilepsy awareness: What is the importance of Purple Day? Behind the Scenes - Dr. Taufik Valiante Epilepsy doctors Dr. Valiante & Dr. Carlen on Canada AM Mom with epilepsy has life-changing surgery The Brain Campaign: Overview




Dr. Taufik Valiante completed his residency in the Neurosurgery Training Program at the University of Toronto in 2002, and an Epilepsy Surgery Fellowship at the University of Washington, Seattle, under the mentorship of Dr. George Ojemann in 2003. In 2007 he established a state of the art five-bed Epilepsy Monitoring Unit at the Toronto Western Hospital, significantly increasing surgical services to those with medically refractory epilepsy throughout the Province of Ontario. Through his involvement with professional and not-for profit epilepsy organizations, he is a strident advocate for the standardization of epilepsy care. His CIHR-funded research focuses on in vivo and in vitro electrophysiological recordings of brain activity. His particular interest is in the association of such activity with cognitive processes, and the cellular mechanisms that underlie them. He studies the pathological disruption of such activity using optogenetics, and computational techniques.

He is currently the Director of the Surgical Epilepsy Program at the Krembil Neuroscience Center, and an Affiliate Scientist at the Toronto Western Hospital Research Institute. His neurosurgical staff appointment is at the Toronto Western Hospital, and he is currently Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto.

Industry Expertise (7)

Health and Wellness Education/Learning Health Care - Services Health Care - Providers Health Care - Facilities Advanced Medical Equipment Research

Areas of Expertise (13)

Neurosurgery Neuroscience Surgery Clinical Research Medical Education Neuroimaging Electrophysiology Neurophysiology Pain Management Biomedical Engineering Translational Research Epilepsy Epilepsy Monitoring Unit

Education (3)

University of Washington: Fellowship, Epilepsy Neurosurgery

University of Toronto: Residency, Neurosurgery

University of Toronto: MD/Ph.D., Medicine 1997

Affiliations (10)

  • Cross Appointment to IBBME University of Toronto
  • Surgical Associate Epilepsy Program Krembil Neuroscience Centre
  • Epilepsy Toronto : Board Member
  • Association of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery
  • American Association of Neurological Surgeons
  • Canadian League Against Epilepsy
  • University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine : Associate Professor of Surgery
  • University of Toronto Institute of Medical Science : Associate Member
  • Islamic History Month Canada : Advisory Board
  • Affiliate Scientist Krembil Research Institute

Media Appearances (8)

Faculty Focus - Taufik Valiante

University of Toronto Surgery  online


Dr. Valiante graduated from the MD/PhD program at the University of Toronto in 1997, with doctoral studies completed under the supervision of Dr. Peter Carlen at Toronto Western Research Institute. In that year he began his residency in the Neurosurgery Training Program at the University of Toronto, and he became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in 2003...

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Inside Epilepsy: Patients turn to brain surgery for treatment

Global Toronto  online


Whitney Goulstone’s life changed when she involuntarily dropped her five-week-old son during an epileptic seizure "I felt like the worst person, the worst mother ever,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine what I’d just done to my son.” Goulstone was diagnosed with epilepsy at age 19 after she had her first tonic-clonic, or grand mal, seizure. She had no idea she had actually been having less severe seizures since she was 13...

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Brain surgery is more than a last resort, epilepsy specialists say

The Globe and Mail  online


The problem? While the surgery has an 80-per-cent success rate and could allow thousands of Canadians to live fuller lives - to work and socialize without fear that an electrical storm in their brains will leave them incapacitated - experts say it is one of the most underutilized interventions in modern medicine. "Patients are told, 'You don't want to go there,' " said Mr. Machin's surgeon, Taufik Valiante, who works at the Krembil Neuroscience Centre at Toronto Western Hospital...

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Brain injury no accident, MD says

The Toronto Star  online


The magnitude of the problem cannot be overstated, Tator said. For people 45 and younger, the most common cause of death is trauma, he said, with brain trauma being the No. 1 killer. Helmets are the mainstay in any brain injury prevention strategy, said Dr. Taufik Valiante, a competitive biker and neurosurgeon whose helmet saved his own brain twice because of falls. As bike season begins, Valiante also agrees with Tator's view on the true nature of accidents...

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Purple Day: What Epilepsy Teaches Us About the Brain

University Health Network  online


Did you know? A lot of what experts now know about the human brain is a result of studying one disease: epilepsy.

That's right – as doctors looked for ways to treat this often devastating neurological illness, they gained valuable insights to how the brain works and where its different functions lie.

Dr. Taufik Valiante, neurosurgeon and co-director of the epilepsy program at Toronto Western Hospital's Krembil Neuroscience Centre, discussed this interesting aspect of medical history with UHNews.

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Brain Surgery Gives Hope to CBC Producer with Epilepsy

University Health Network  online


As in most epilepsy cases, Carma's seizures actually began earlier than the 2009 incident, but since they were less dramatic, they were difficult to identify.
At the hospital that day, doctors confirmed that the seizure she'd had, along with the other incidents she had experienced, were caused by epilepsy.
Helping her to take back that control was UHN's Dr. Taufik Valiante, a neurosurgeon at Krembil Neuroscience Centre, who specializes in the surgical treatment of epilepsy.

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Mom with Epilepsy Gets Her Life Back

University Health Network  online


At 32 years old Whitney was forced to wear a helmet just to protect her from everyday activities. She couldn't be alone and if she was, she was confined to a wheelchair in case she had a drop seizure. Whitney has epilepsy. She's had the condition for almost half her life and over time it intensified from a benign eye twitch to frequent, sudden seizures that forced her to surrender her independence.
Whitney is sharing her story for Purple Day, an international awareness day for epilepsy, on Thursday, March 24.

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Watch Final Epilepsy TV Segment: Purple Day is Coming

University Health Network  online


Whitney Goulstone's epileptic seizures were once so severe, she had to wear a helmet and could not hold her children. Watch Global Toronto's series to see how surgery at UHN has changed her life.

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Event Appearances (2)

Epilepsy Surgery Program Update and Vagus Nerve Stimulation

Epilepsy Conference 2014 : Emerging Treatments Changing Lives  Toronto, ON.


Keynote Speaker

Epilepsy Care in Ontario  Toronto, ON.


Articles (11)

Phase-amplitude coupling and interlaminar synchrony are correlated in human neocortex The Journal of Neuroscience


One of the striking manifestations of neuronal population activity is that of rhythmic oscillations in the local field potential. It is thought that such oscillatory patterns, including phase-amplitude coupling (PAC) and inter-regional synchrony, may represent forms of local and long-range cortical computations, respectively. Although it has been speculated that these two oscillatory patterns are functionally related, and bind disparate cortical assemblies to one another at different timescales, there is little direct evidence to support this hypothesis. We have demonstrated recently that theta to high-gamma PAC and interlaminar phase coherence at theta frequencies can be generated in human cortical slices maintained in vitro. Here we show that not only do such oscillatory patterns exist within human temporal neocortex, but that the strength of one is related to the strength of the other. We demonstrate that at theta frequencies, metrics of temporal synchrony between superficial and deep cortical laminae (phase-dependent power correlations, and phase coherence) are correlated to the magnitude of intralaminar PAC between theta and high-gamma. Specifically, our results suggest that interlaminar communication within human temporal neocortex and local laminar excitability are linked to one another through a dependence mediated by theta oscillations. More generally, our results provide evidence for the hypothesis that theta oscillations may coordinate inter-areal excitability in the human brain.

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A simple relationship between radiological arteriovenous malformation hemodynamics and clinical presentation: a prospective, blinded analysis of 31 cases Journal of Neurosurgery


The authors sought to establish prospectively whether there is a simple relationship between radiological features of brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) hemodynamics and a patient's clinical presentation. Methods. Thirty-one consecutive patients with AVMs ...

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Mechanisms of Electrical Coupling Between Pyramidal Cells Journal of Neurophysiology


Mechanisms of electrical coupling between pyramidal cells. J. Neurophysiol. 78: 3107–3116, 1997. Direct electrical coupling between neurons can be the result of both electrotonic current transfer through gap junctions and extracellular fields...

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Metabotropic glutamate receptors coupled to IP3 production mediate inhibition of IAHP in rat dentate granule neurons Journal of Neurophysiology


Activation of PLC can also lead to the production of diacyl glycerol and activation of protein kinase C (PKC). However, the inhibitory action of ACPD on IAHP was not affected by staurosporine at a concentration (1, xM) that inhibits both protein kinase A (PKA) and PKC ...

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Coupling potentials in CA1 neurons during calcium-free-induced field burst activity The Journal of Neuroscience


Small amplitude depolarizations (fast prepotentials, spikelets) recorded in mammalian neurons are thought to represent either dendritic action potentials or presynaptic action potentials attenuated by gap junctions. We have used whole-cell ...

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Modulation of gap junctional mechanisms during calcium-free induced field burst activity: a possible role for electrotonic coupling in epileptogenesis The Journal of Neuroscience


To date, there is little experimental evidence supporting or refuting electrotonic interactions through gap junctions in the generation and/or spread of seizure activity in the mammalian brain. We have studied gap junctional mechanisms in the in vitro calcium-free ...

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Balancing health literacy about epilepsy surgery in the community Epilepsia


Despite significant underutilization of surgical treatment for drug-resistant epilepsy, no studies have quantified patient desire for surgery within a representative population. The main objective was to determine desire for surgery in a sample with a high proportion of potential candidates to characterize patient-related barriers to the treatment. Secondary objectives included assessing clinical predictors of attitudes toward surgery and evaluating the impact of passive knowledge translation on desire for surgery.

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Dynamic circuit motifs underlying rhythmic gain control, gating and integration Nature Neuroscience


Brain circuitry processes information by rapidly and selectively engaging functional neuronal networks. The dynamic formation of networks is often evident in rhythmically synchronized neuronal activity and tightly correlates with perceptual, cognitive and motor performances. But how synchronized neuronal activity contributes to network formation and how it relates to the computation of behaviorally relevant information has remained difficult to discern. Here we structure recent empirical advances that link synchronized activity to the activation of so-called dynamic circuit motifs. These motifs explicitly relate (1) synaptic and cellular properties of circuits to (2) identified timescales of rhythmic activation and to (3) canonical circuit computations implemented by rhythmically synchronized circuits. We survey the ubiquitous evidence of specific cell and circuit properties underlying synchronized activity across theta, alpha, beta and gamma frequency bands and show that their activation likely implements gain control, context-dependent gating and state-specific integration of synaptic inputs. This evidence gives rise to the dynamic circuit motifs hypothesis of synchronized activation states, with its core assertion that activation states are linked to uniquely identifiable local circuit structures that are recruited during the formation of functional networks to perform specific computational operations.

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Burst Firing Synchronizes Prefrontal and Anterior Cingulate Cortex during Attentional Control Current Biology: CB


It is widely held that single cells in anterior cingulate and lateral prefrontal cortex (ACC/PFC) coordinate their activity during attentional processes, although cellular activity that may underlie such coordination across ACC/PFC has not been identified. We thus recorded cells in five ACC/PFC subfields of macaques engaged in a selective attention task, characterized those spiking events that indexed attention, and identified how spiking of distinct cell populations synchronized between brain areas.

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In Vitro Recordings of Human Neocortical Oscillations Cerebral Cortex


Electrophysiological oscillations are thought to create temporal windows of communication between brain regions. We show here that human cortical slices maintained in vitro can generate oscillations similar to those observed in vivo. We have characterized these oscillations using local field potential and whole-cell recordings obtained from neocortical slices acquired during epilepsy surgery. We confirmed that such neocortical slices maintain the necessary cellular and circuitry components, and in particular inhibitory mechanisms, to manifest oscillatory activity when exposed to glutamatergic and cholinergic agonists. The generation of oscillations was dependent on intact synaptic activity and muscarinic receptors. Such oscillations differed in electrographic and pharmacological properties from epileptiform activity. Two types of activity, theta oscillations and high gamma activity, uniquely characterized this model-activity not typically observed in animal cortical slices. We observed theta oscillations to be synchronous across cortical laminae suggesting a novel role of theta as a substrate for interlaminar communication. As well, we observed cross-frequency coupling (CFC) between theta phase and high gamma amplitude similar to that observed in vivo. The high gamma "bursts" generated by such CFC varied in their frequency content, suggesting that this variability may underlie the broadband nature of high gamma activity.

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Saccades during visual exploration align hippocampal 3-8 Hz rhythms in human and non-human primates Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience


Visual exploration in primates depends on saccadic eye movements (SEMs) that cause alternations of neural suppression and enhancement. This modulation extends beyond retinotopic areas, and is thought to facilitate perception; yet saccades may also influence brain regions critical for forming memories of these exploratory episodes. The hippocampus, for example, shows oscillatory activity that is generally associated with encoding of information. Whether or how hippocampal oscillations are influenced by eye movements is unknown. We recorded the neural activity in the human and macaque hippocampus during visual scene search. Across species, SEMs were associated with a time-limited alignment of a low-frequency (3-8 Hz) rhythm. The phase alignment depended on the task and not only on eye movements per se, and the frequency band was not a direct consequence of saccade rate. Hippocampal theta-frequency oscillations are produced by other mammals during repetitive exploratory behaviors, including whisking, sniffing, echolocation, and locomotion. The present results may reflect a similar yet distinct primate homologue supporting active perception during exploration.

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