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Magn Reson Imaging. 1995;13(8):1181-5.

Application of spectroscopic imaging in epilepsy.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco 94143, USA.


Functional and anatomical neuroimaging has had a dramatic effect on the evaluation of patients for seizure surgery. The demonstration by PET that the epileptogenic focus has interictal metabolic abnormalities has allowed a greater number of patients to come to seizure surgery, with fewer of these patients requiring intracranial electrode evaluations. Metabolic changes have also been demonstrated utilizing single voxel and whole brain 1H and 31P MRS imaging techniques with the interictal focus characterized by increased Pi, pH, and decreased PME and NAA. These findings can be used to accurately lateralize temporal lobe as well as frontal lobe epilepsy. Furthermore, there is evidence that these findings can be used to localize the seizure focus with the changes specific for the epileptogenic region; although, more diffuse changes both ipsilaterally and contralaterally have been seen. In patients with anterior hippocampal seizure foci the pH is significantly alkaline only in the ipsilateral hippocampus, whereas the increased Pi and decreased PME can be seen throughout the ipsilateral temporal lobe. When compared to controls the contralateral hemisphere is acidotic. Decreased NAA concentrations as well as NAA/Cr ratios have been demonstrated in the epileptogenic region in temporal and frontal lobe epilepsy. The decreased NAA has been correlated with the severity of cell loss, and may be a more sensitive measure than qualitative or quantitative measures of the hippocampal atrophy; however, the NAA decrease is more widespread than just the epileptogenic focus but may be maximal at the site of seizure initiation. In preliminary work, NAA maps of deviation from normality have suggested that the maximal change to coincide with the epileptogenic region. These results suggest that in focal epilepsy there is abnormal metabolic activity throughout the brain detectable by MRS, with patterns of metabolic asymmetry that are useful for seizure localization.

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