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Epilepsia. 2008;49 Suppl 3:42-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2008.01509.x.

Epileptic networks studied with EEG-fMRI.

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Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada.


It is not easy to determine the location of the cerebral generators and the other brain regions that may be involved at the time of an epileptic spike seen in the scalp EEG. The possibility to combine EEG recording with functional MRI scanning (fMRI) opens the opportunity to uncover the regions of the brain showing changes in metabolism and blood flow in response to epileptic spikes seen in the EEG. These regions are presumably involved in the abnormal neuronal activity at the origin of epileptic discharges. This paper reviews the methodology involved in performing such studies, including the special techniques required for recording the EEG inside the scanner and the statistical issues in analyzing the fMRI signal. We then discuss the results obtained in patients with different types of focal epileptic disorders and in patients with primary generalized epilepsy. The results in general indicate that interictal epileptic discharges may affect brain areas well beyond the presumed region in which they are generated. The noninvasive nature of this method opens new horizons in the investigation of brain regions involved and affected by epileptic discharges.

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