Children with epilepsy demonstrate macro- and microstructural changes in the thalamus, putamen, and amygdala

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MacEachern, Sarah J
Santoro, Jonathan D
Hahn, Kara J
Medress, Zachary A
Stecher, Ximena
D Li, Matthew
Hahn, Jin S
Yeom, Kristen W
Forkert, Nils D
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Purpose: Despite evidence for macrostructural alteration in epilepsy patients later in life, little is known about the underlying pathological or compensatory mechanisms at younger ages causing these alterations. The aim of this work was to investigate the impact of pediatric epilepsy on the central nervous system, including gray matter volume, cerebral blood flow, and water diffusion, compared with neurologically normal children. Methods: Inter-ictal magnetic resonance imaging data was obtained from 30 children with epilepsy ages 1-16 (73% F, 27% M). An atlas-based approach was used to determine values for volume, cerebral blood flow, and apparent diffusion coefficient in the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, thalamus, caudate, putamen, globus pallidus, amygdala, and nucleus accumbens. These values were then compared with previously published values from 100 neurologically normal children using a MANCOVA analysis. Results: Most brain volumes of children with epilepsy followed a pattern similar to typically developing children, except for significantly larger putamen and amygdala. Cerebral blood flow was also comparable between the groups, except for the putamen, which demonstrated decreased blood flow in children with epilepsy. Diffusion (apparent diffusion coefficient) showed a trend towards higher values in children with epilepsy, with significantly elevated diffusion within the thalamus in children with epilepsy compared with neurologically normal children. Conclusion: Children with epilepsy show statistically significant differences in volume, diffusion, and cerebral blood flow within their thalamus, putamen, and amygdala, suggesting that epilepsy is associated with structural changes of the central nervous system influencing brain development and potentially leading to poorer neurocognitive outcomes.
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Brain mapping , Cerebral blood flow , Diffusion , Epilepsy , Magnetic resonance imaging , Pediatrics
Neuroradiology . 2020 Mar;62(3):389-397