[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cognitive impairment is frequent in children with frontal lobe epilepsy (FLE), but its aetiology is unknown. MRI scans often reveal no structural brain abnormalities that could explain the cognitive impairment. This does not exclude more subtle morphological abnormalities that can only be detected by automated morphometric techniques.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cognitive impairment is frequent in children with frontal lobe epilepsy (FLE). Its etiology remains unknown. With diffusion tensor imaging, we have studied cerebral white matter properties and associations with cognitive functioning in children with FLE and healthy controls.
Thirty children aged 8-13 years with FLE of unknown cause and 39 healthy age-matched controls underwent neuropsychological assessment, structural and diffusion-weighted brain MRI. Patients were grouped as cognitively impaired or unimpaired, and their white matter diffusion properties were compared with the controls.
Children with FLE had reduced apparent diffusion coefficients in various posteriorly located tract bundles, a reduced fractional anisotropy (FA) of the white matter tract between the right frontal and right occipital lobe, and smaller volumes of several collections of interlobar bundle tracts, compared with controls. The cognitively impaired patient group demonstrated significant increases in FA of the white matter of both occipital lobes, a reduced FA of white matter tract bundles between the right frontal and both left occipital lobe and subcortical white matter area, and smaller volumes of two collections of tract bundles connecting the frontal lobe with the temporal and parietal lobes, compared with controls.
Children with FLE had white matter abnormalities mainly in posterior brain regions, not confined to the area of the seizure focus. Cognitively impaired children with FLE showed the most pronounced white matter abnormalities. These possibly reflect disturbed maturation and might be part of the etiology of the cognitive impairment.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many children with frontal lobe epilepsy (FLE) have significant cognitive comorbidity, for which the underlying mechanism has not yet been unraveled, but is likely related to disturbed cerebral network integrity. Using resting-state fMRI, we investigated whether cerebral network characteristics are associated with epilepsy and cognitive comorbidity. We included 37 children with FLE and 41 healthy age-matched controls. Cognitive performance was determined by means of a computerized visual searching task. A connectivity matrix for 82 cortical and subcortical brain regions was generated for each subject by calculating the inter-regional correlation of the fMRI time signals. From the connectivity matrix, graph metrics were calculated and the anatomical configuration of aberrant connections and modular organization was investigated. Both patients and controls displayed efficiently organized networks. However, FLE patients displayed a higher modularity, implying that subnetworks are less interconnected. Impaired cognition was associated with higher modularity scores and abnormal modular organization of the brain, which was mainly expressed as a decrease in long-range and an increase in interhemispheric connectivity in patients. We showed that network modularity analysis provides a sensitive marker for cognitive impairment in FLE and suggest that abnormally interconnected functional subnetworks of the brain might underlie the cognitive problems in children with FLE.