Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study finds altered brain connections in epilepsy patients

19.11.2013
Patients with the most common form of focal epilepsy have widespread, abnormal connections in their brains that could provide clues toward diagnosis and treatment, according to a new study published online in the journal Radiology.

Temporal lobe epilepsy is characterized by seizures emanating from the temporal lobes, which sit on each side of the brain just above the ear. Previously, experts believed that the condition was related to isolated injuries of structures within the temporal lobe, like the hippocampus.


MP-RAGE volumes are segmented into 83 ROIs, which are further parcellated into 1000 cortical and 15 subcortical ROIs. Whole-brain white matter tractography is performed after voxelwise tensor calculation, and the density of fibers that connect each pair of cortical ROIs is used to calculate structural connectivity. T1w = T1-weighted.

Credit: Courtesy of Radiology and RSNA

But recent research has implicated the default mode network (DMN), the set of brain regions activated during task-free introspection and deactivated during goal-directed behavior. The DMN consists of several hubs that are more active during the resting state.

To learn more, researchers performed diffusion tensor imaging, a type of MRI that tracks the movement, or diffusion, of water in the brain's white matter, the nerve fibers that transmit signals throughout the brain. The study group consisted of 24 patients with left temporal lobe epilepsy who were slated for surgery to remove the site from where their seizures emanated. The researchers compared them with 24 healthy controls using an MRI protocol dedicated to finding white matter tracts with diffusion imaging at high resolution. The data was analyzed with a new technique that identifies and quantifies structural connections in the brain.

Patients with left temporal lobe epilepsy exhibited a decrease in long-range connectivity of 22 percent to 45 percent among areas of the DMN when compared with the healthy controls.

"Using diffusion MRI, we found alterations in the structural connectivity beyond the medial temporal lobe, especially in the default mode network," said Steven M. Stufflebeam, M.D., from the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

In addition to reduced long-range connectivity, the epileptic patients had an 85 percent to 270 percent increase in local connectivity within and beyond the DMN. The researchers believe this may be an adaptation to the loss of the long-range connections.

"The increase in local connections could represent a maladaptive mechanism by which overall neural connectivity is maintained despite the loss of connections through important hub areas," Dr. Stufflebeam said.

The results are supported by prior functional MRI studies that have shown decreased functional connectivity in DMN areas in temporal lobe epilepsy. Researchers are not certain if the structural changes cause the functional changes, or vice versa.

"It's probably a breakdown of myelin, which is the insulation of neurons, causing a slowdown in the propagation of information, but we don't know for sure," Dr. Stufflebeam said.

Dr. Stufflebeam and colleagues plan to continue their research, using structural and functional MRI with electroencephalography and magnetoencephalography to track diffusion changes and look at real-time brain activity.

"Our long-term goal is to see if we can we predict from diffusion studies who will respond to surgery and who will not," he said.

The study is part of the Human Connectome Project, a five-year project funded by the National Institutes of Health that uses neuroimaging techniques to study connectomics, or the functional and structural connections in the brain. Dr. Stufflebeam's colleague, Matthew N. DeSalvo, M.D., initiated the study as a medical student with the help of a 2013 Research Medical Student Grant from the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"Altered Structural Connectome in Temporal Lobe Epilepsy." Collaborating with Drs. Stufflebeam and DeSalvo were Linda Douw, Ph.D., Naoaki Tanaka, M.D., Ph.D., and Claus Reinsberger, M.D., Ph.D.

Radiology is edited by Herbert Y. Kressel, M.D., Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass., and owned and published by the Radiological Society of North America, Inc.

RSNA is an association of more than 53,000 radiologists, radiation oncologists, medical physicists and related scientists promoting excellence in patient care and health care delivery through education, research and technologic innovation. The Society is based in Oak Brook, Ill. (RSNA.org)

For patient-friendly information on MRI, visit RadiologyInfo.org.

Linda Brooks | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rsna.org

Further reports about: DMN MRI Medical Wellness RSNA Radiological Society brain region functional MRI nerve fiber

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

nachricht Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>