John Libbey Eurotext

Typical childhood absence seizures are associated with thalamic activation Volume 7, issue 4, December 2005


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Brain Research Institute, Heidelberg West, Melbourne, Australia, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Melbourne, Australia

Functional MRI with simultaneously acquired EEG (fMRI/EEG) can identify areas of signal change associated with interictal discharges. We report the fMRI/EEG study of a child with newly-diagnosed IGE, performed prior to the start of antiepileptic medication. The 7-years-old girl had very frequent absences, associated with eyelid myoclonia. Her EEG showed frequent, typical 3/sec discharges. Functional MRI was performed with a 3T scanner using whole brain gradient echo-planar imaging, and the EEG was recorded with 18, non-metallic, scalp electrodes. Ten bursts of generalized discharges were captured during 30 minutes fMRI/EEG acquisition. The bursts lasted 3.4 (SD ± 0.6) seconds. Event-related analysis was performed with SPM2 and iBrain TM software. Functional MRI showed prominent, bilateral thalamic activation, and less pronounced areas of cortical activation and deactivation. This study demonstrates thalamic activation in typical, untreated childhood absence epilepsy. The cortical signal change may be related to a thalamo-cortical circuit.