Functional neuroimaging abnormalities in idiopathic generalized epilepsy

Megan L. McGill, Orrin Devinsky, Xiuyuan Wang, Brian T. Quinn, Heath Pardoe, Chad Carlson, Tracy Butler, Ruben Kuzniecky, Thomas Thesen

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32 Citations (Scopus)


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques have been used to quantitatively assess focal and network abnormalities. Idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE) is characterized by bilateral synchronous spike-wave discharges on electroencephalography (EEG) but normal clinical MRI. Dysfunctions involving the neocortex, particularly the prefrontal cortex, and thalamus likely contribute to seizure activity. To identify possible morphometric and functional differences in the brains of IGE patients and normal controls, we employed measures of thalamic volumes, cortical thickness, gray-white blurring, fractional anisotropy (FA) measures fromdiffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and fractional amplitude of low frequency fluctuations (fALFF) in thalamic subregions from resting state functional MRI. Data from 27 patients with IGE and 27 age- and sex-matched controls showed similar thalamic volumes, cortical thickness and gray-white contrast. There were no differences in FA values on DTI in tracts connecting the thalamus and prefrontal cortex. Functional analysis revealed decreased fALFF in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) subregion of the thalamus in patients with IGE. We provide minimum detectable effect sizes for each measure used in the study. Our analysis indicates that fMRI-based methods are more sensitive than quantitative structural techniques for characterizing brain abnormalities in IGE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-462
Number of pages8
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • DTI (diffusion tensor imaging)
  • fALFF (fractional amplitude of low frequency fluctuations)
  • IGE (idiopathic generalized epilepsy)
  • Quantitative morphometry

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