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Epilepsia. 2003 Nov;44(11):1402-5.

Thalamic dysfunction in juvenile myoclonic epilepsy: a proton MRS study.

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Department of Neurology, University of Campinas-UNICAMP, Campinas, SP, Brazil.



To investigate neuronal dysfunction in the thalami of patients with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) by using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS).


We performed single-voxel proton MRS over the right and the left thalami of 10 consecutive patients (five women) with JME (mean age, 31.6 years) and 10 age-matched healthy volunteers (five men). All patients had seizure onset in late childhood-teenage, normal neurologic examination, typical EEG of JME, and normal high-resolution MR imaging (MRI). We determined ratios of N-acetylaspartate (NAA) over creatine-phosphocreatine (Cr). Values <2 standard deviations from controls were considered abnormal. We performed analysis of variance to evaluate group differences.


Group analysis showed that thalami NAA/Cr ratios were significantly decreased in JME patients (left side, 1.58 +/- 0.26; right side, 1.5 +/- 0.15) as compared with controls (left side, 1.98 +/- 0.18; right side, 1.88 +/- 0.15; p = 0.001 and p = 0.007, respectively). Individual analysis showed that nine of the 10 patients had abnormal NAA/Cr in at least one of the thalami.


This study shows evidence of neuronal dysfunction in the thalami of patients with JME, which may have relevance for the mechanisms of seizure generation in this form of generalized epilepsy.

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