Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Seyed Mirsattari

2nd Supervisor

Ravi Menon



Background: Psychogenic Non-epileptic Seizures (PNES) are attacks that appear similar to epileptic attacks. However, they lack abnormal electrical discharges in the brain and have psychological underpinnings and causes. The gold standard of diagnosis is video-EEG which is not widely accessible, creating a poor prognosis for patients. Resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging can aid in the diagnosis and treatment of PNES by helping better understand brain networks in patients with PNES. This study examines brain networks in patients with PNES with a focus on the default mode network and salience network.

Methods: Twelve patients with PNES between the ages of 18-56 and twelve age- and sex- matched healthy participants between the ages of 18-59 were recruited. Participants underwent 7T resting-state fMRI scanning. Independent Components Analysis (ICA) and whole brain functional connectivity making use of region of interest analysis (ROI) was used to study the default mode network and the salience network.

Results: No Significant differences in functional connectivity between regions in the default mode network (DMN) as well as the salience network (SN) were found when comparing patients with PNES to healthy control participants.

Conclusions: In the current study patients with PNES do not show altered connectivity between brain regions in the default mode network as well as the salience network. Limitations and future directions of the current study will be discussed.