Functional MRI of Neuronal Activation in Epilepsy Patients with Malformations of Cortical Development
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Malformations of cortical development are disturbances in brain formation that arise from abnormalities affecting the processes of cortical development. Surgical treatment of intractable epilepsy in patients with malformations of cortical development requires localization of both epileptogenic and eloquent cortices. Functional magnetic resonance imaging has been shown to detect the reorganization of activation patterns in such patients. The purpose of this study was to determine whether functional reorganization of the primary sensory and motor cortices occurs in patients with epileptogenic malformations of cortical development. Functional MRI data were obtained for 11 patients (four male, seven female) with a mean age of 36 years (range 18-55 years). The mean age at epilepsy onset was 23 years (range 3-55 years). Twelve healthy controls (six male, six female) with mean age of 33 years (range 28-51 years) were also recruited for comparison. High resolution anatomical MRI was used to confirm the presence and the location of the malformation. All imaging experiments were performed using a 3.0T Siemens Tim Trio whole body MRI. Each subject performed four block-paradigm fMRI experiments to study motor and sensory activation for each hand. A total of 132 image sets were collected for each paradigm over 5.5min (2.5s per image). Each paradigm consisted of seven stimulus periods lasting 30s (12 images) and stimulus onset of 30, 90, 150, 210 and 270s. Functional data were obtained from all eligible patients and compared to those of controls. Reorganization and reduction in function in the motor and sensory areas were observed in patients with cortical dysplasia. Patients with polymicrogyria did not present with significant functional reorganization and patients with heterotopias and coexisting polymicrogyria and/or cortical dysplasia had variable patterns of activation. In summary, this study showed evidence of functional reorganization of sensory and motor cortices in patients with cortical dysplasia development. Such information should be carefully considered in surgical planning and treatment.