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Acta Neurol Scand. 2018 Apr;137(4):425-431. doi: 10.1111/ane.12899. Epub 2018 Jan 17.

Progressive topological disorganization of brain network in focal epilepsy.

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Department of Neurology, Haeundae Paik Hospital, Inje University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea.
Department of Health Science and Technology, Inje University, Gimhae, Korea.
School of Biomedical Engineering/u-HARC, Inje University, Gimhae, Korea.



Increasing evidence has suggested that epilepsy is a network disease. Graph theory is a mathematical tool that allows for the analysis and quantification of the brain network. We aimed to evaluate the influences of duration of epilepsy on the topological organization of brain network in focal epilepsy patients with normal MRI using the graph theoretical analysis based on diffusion tenor imaging.


We prospectively enrolled 66 patients with focal epilepsy (18/66 patients were newly diagnosed) and 84 healthy subjects. All of the patients with epilepsy had normal MRI on visual inspection. All of the subjects underwent diffusion tensor imaging that was analyzed using graph theory to obtain network measures.


The measures of characteristic path length and small-worldness in the patients with focal epilepsy were significantly decreased, even after multiple corrections (P < .01). Moreover, the measures including mean clustering coefficient and global efficiency in the patients with epilepsy had strong tendency to decrease compared to those in healthy subjects (P = .0153 and P = .0138, respectively). When comparing the measures among the patients with newly diagnosed/chronic epilepsy and healthy subjects using ANOVA, the characteristic path length (P = .006), small-worldness (P = .032), and global efficiency (P = .004) were significantly different. In addition, the duration of epilepsy was negatively correlated with global efficiency (r = -.249, P = .0454).


We newly found a progressive topological disorganization of the brain network in focal epilepsy. In addition, we demonstrated disrupted topological organization in focal epilepsy, shifting toward a more random state.


diffusion tensor imaging; epilepsy; graph theory analysis

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