CHARACTERIZATION OF FUNCTIONAL NETWORKS RELEVANT TO THE GENERATION OF EPILEPTIC ACTIVITY
Relevant for Research Area
It is becoming more and more apparent that epilepsy is associated with widespread network alterations that cannot necessarily be well represented by the concept of a restricted epileptogenic focus. A better understanding of these networks is thus essential for the development of effective therapeutic intervention strategies such as targeted stimulation. Yet there is currently no single reliable method to localize epileptogenic foci and associated networks. The NetEpi project employs multimodal measurements using the complementary techniques of EEG and fMRI to achieve the localization (by fMRI) of networks associated with epileptiform discharges (seen on EEG). Ongoing investigations have revealed widespread pathological networks encompassing distant cerebral regions; some of these regions were shown to be associated with cognitive comorbidities in epilepsy patients. Within individual patients, apparently similar EEG discharges were found to activate highly variable dynamic networks. Moreover, the identified networks showed a clear correspondence with cerebral regions recruited by focal electrical stimulation. It is thus clear that any effective focal intervention approach will have to consider the need to interact with the brain as a whole. EEG-fMRI contributes essential information on the localization and topology of the epileptogenic network.
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