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Epilepsia. 1999 Apr;40(4):414-23.

Normative volumetric data of the developing hippocampus in children based on magnetic resonance imaging.

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Department of Radiology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany.



To acquire normative data of the hippocampus and its postnatal growth in 50 children (age, 1 month to 15 years) without epilepsy.


Morphometry of the hippocampus was carried out by using a spoiled FLASH 3D sequence (sagittal orientation), whereas the volume of the brain was assessed with a T2-weighted spin-echo sequence (transverse orientation). The volume of the hippocampus and the brain was determined by following Cavalieri's principle. Growth curves of the brain and hippocampus were fitted to a nonlinear Boltzmann sigmoidal equation.


Intra-/interobserver coefficient of variation was 2.0/4.9% for hippocampal volume measurements and 2.0/2.1% for brain volumetry. A significant difference in volume was noted between the right and left hippocampus (p < 0.001), with the right side being larger on average by 0.10 cc. Correlation coefficients of growth curves ranged between 0.71 and 0.94. Growth curves demonstrated a faster development of the hippocampus in girls. A steeper slope of hippocampal growth as compared with brain growth was found in girls, whereas in boys, the slope of brain growth was steeper.


Our findings will be of help in evaluating vulnerable phases of the hippocampal formation with accelerated growth, thereby leading to a better understanding of the development of hippocampal sclerosis in early childhood.

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