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Neurology. 2008 Dec 9;71(24):1981-5. doi: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000336969.98241.17.

Nerve fiber impairment of anterior thalamocortical circuitry in juvenile myoclonic epilepsy.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, University of Muenster, Albert-Schweitzer-Str. 33, 48129 Muenster, Germany. mail@Michael-Deppe.de

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) is a syndrome of idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE) without structural brain abnormalities detectable by MRI or CT.

OBJECTIVE:

In the present study, we addressed the question of whether diffusion tensor MRI (DTI) can detect disease-specific white matter (WM) abnormalities in patients with JME.

METHODS:

We performed whole head DTI at 3 T in 10 patients with JME, 8 age-matched patients with cryptogenic partial epilepsy (CPE), and 67 age-matched healthy volunteers. Nerve fiber integrity was compared between the groups on the basis of optimized voxel-by-voxel statistics of fractional anisotropy (FA) maps obtained by DTI (analysis of covariance, categorical factor "group," covariate "age").

RESULTS:

FA was reduced in a WM region associated with the anterior thalamus and prefrontal cortex in patients with JME compared to both control subjects and patients with CPE (p < 0.001). The patients with CPE showed normal values in this particular WM region. The FA reductions in the patients with JME correlated with the frequency of generalized tonic-clonic seizures (Spearman R = 0.54, p = 0.05). No significant correlations were found in the JME sample between FA reduction and the duration of antiepileptic medication.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results support the hypothesis that juvenile myoclonic epilepsy is associated with abnormalities of the thalamocortical network that can be detected by diffusion tensor MRI.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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