Simultaneous recording of electroencephalogram and functional MRI (EEG-fMRI) is a powerful tool for localizing epileptic networks via the detection of hemodynamic changes correlated with interictal epileptic discharges (IEDs). fMRI can be used to study the long-lasting effect of epileptic activity by assessing stationary functional connectivity during the resting-state period [especially, the connectivity of the default mode network (DMN)]. Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) and idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE) are associated with low responsiveness and disruption of DMN activity. A dynamic functional connectivity approach might enable us to determine the effect of IEDs on DMN connectivity and to better understand the correlation between DMN connectivity changes and altered consciousness.
Dravet syndrome (DS) is currently considered as an epileptic encephalopathy, a condition in which epilepsy causes deterioration or developmental delay but preliminary data suggested that cognitive course may worsen independently from epilepsy. Our objective was to prospectively analyze the neuropsychological features in a large cohort of DS patients and its relationships with epilepsy and SCN1A mutation.
Absence seizures are caused by brief periods of abnormal synchronized oscillations in the thalamocortical loops, resulting in widespread spike-and-wave discharges (SWDs) in the electroencephalogram (EEG). SWDs are concomitant with a complete or partial impairment of consciousness, notably expressed by an interruption of ongoing behaviour together with a lack of conscious perception of external stimuli. It is largely considered that the paroxysmal synchronizations during the epileptic episode transiently render the thalamocortical system incapable of transmitting primary sensory information to the cortex. Here, we examined in young patients and in the Genetic Absence Epilepsy Rats from Strasbourg (GAERS), a well-established genetic model of absence epilepsy, how sensory inputs are processed in the related cortical areas during SWDs. In epileptic patients, visual event-related potentials (ERPs) were still present in the occipital EEG when the stimuli were delivered during seizures, with a significant increase in amplitude compared to interictal periods and a decrease in latency compared to that measured from non-epileptic subjects. Using simultaneous in vivo EEG and intracellular recordings from the primary somatosensory cortex of GAERS and non-epileptic rats, we found that ERPs and firing responses of related pyramidal neurons to whisker deflection were not significantly modified during SWDs. However, the intracellular subthreshold synaptic responses in somatosensory cortical neurons during seizures had larger amplitude compared to quiescent situations. These convergent findings from human patients and a rodent genetic model show the persistence of cortical responses to sensory stimulations during SWDs, indicating that the brain can still process external stimuli during absence seizures. They also demonstrate that the disruption of conscious perception during absences is not due to an obliteration of information transfer in the thalamocortical system. The possible mechanisms rendering the cortical operation ineffective for conscious perception are discussed, but their definite elucidation will require further investigations.
In the premature infant, somatosensory and visual stimuli trigger an immature electroencephalographic (EEG) pattern, "delta-brushes," in the corresponding sensory cortical areas. Whether auditory stimuli evoke delta-brushes in the premature auditory cortex has not been reported. Here, responses to auditory stimuli were studied in 46 premature infants without neurologic risk aged 31 to 38 postmenstrual weeks (PMW) during routine EEG recording. Stimuli consisted of either low-volume technogenic "clicks" near the background noise level of the neonatal care unit, or a human voice at conversational sound level. Stimuli were administrated pseudo-randomly during quiet and active sleep. In another protocol, the cortical response to a composite stimulus ("click" and voice) was manually triggered during EEG hypoactive periods of quiet sleep. Cortical responses were analyzed by event detection, power frequency analysis and stimulus locked averaging. Before 34 PMW, both voice and "click" stimuli evoked cortical responses with similar frequency-power topographic characteristics, namely a temporal negative slow-wave and rapid oscillations similar to spontaneous delta-brushes. Responses to composite stimuli also showed a maximal frequency-power increase in temporal areas before 35 PMW. From 34 PMW the topography of responses in quiet sleep was different for "click" and voice stimuli: responses to "clicks" became diffuse but responses to voice remained limited to temporal areas. After the age of 35 PMW auditory evoked delta-brushes progressively disappeared and were replaced by a low amplitude response in the same location. Our data show that auditory stimuli mimicking ambient sounds efficiently evoke delta-brushes in temporal areas in the premature infant before 35 PMW. Along with findings in other sensory modalities (visual and somatosensory), these findings suggest that sensory driven delta-brushes represent a ubiquitous feature of the human sensory cortex during fetal stages and provide a potential test of functional cortical maturation during fetal development.
We aimed to test the efficacy of ketogenic diet (KD) in patients with Dravet syndrome (DS) not satisfactorily controlled by antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). We included prospectively 15 DS patients aged >3 years with partial response to AEDs including stiripentol. All patients had a seizure diary and clinical examination with Conners and Achenbach scales before KD, at 1 month following onset and every 3 months thereafter. At 1 month, 10 patients (66%) had a decrease of seizure frequency ?75%. Efficacy was maintained in eight responders at 3 and 6 months and in six responders at 9 months. Five patients (33%) remained on KD over 12 months, and one was seizure-free. In addition to efficacy on seizure frequency, KD was beneficial on behavior disturbances including hyperactivity. This effect was reported in all responders and in a few nonresponders. KD might have a double effect, on seizure control and on hyperactivity and behavior disturbances in patients with DS.
Severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy (SMEI) or Dravet syndrome (DS) is a distinctive epilepsy syndrome often associated with de novo mutations in the SCN1A gene. However, 25-30% patients with SMEI/DS are negative for SCN1A mutation screening, suggesting that other molecular mechanisms may account for these disorders. Given the overlapping and heterogeneous clinical features of CDKL5- and ARX-related epilepsies and SMEI/DS, we postulated that CDKL5 mutations in females and ARX mutations gene in males may be associated with early onset seizures forms of SMEI/DS.
Radiotherapy has shown some efficacy for epilepsies but the insufficient confinement of the radiation dose to the pathological target reduces its indications. Synchrotron-generated X-rays overcome this limitation and allow the delivery of focalized radiation doses to discrete brain volumes via interlaced arrays of microbeams (IntMRT). Here, we used IntMRT to target brain structures involved in seizure generation in a rat model of absence epilepsy (GAERS). We addressed the issue of whether and how synchrotron radiotherapeutic treatment suppresses epileptic activities in neuronal networks. IntMRT was used to target the somatosensory cortex (S1Cx), a region involved in seizure generation in the GAERS. The antiepileptic mechanisms were investigated by recording multisite local-field potentials and the intracellular activity of irradiated S1Cx pyramidal neurons in vivo. MRI and histopathological images displayed precise and sharp dose deposition and revealed no impairment of surrounding tissues. Local-field potentials from behaving animals demonstrated a quasi-total abolition of epileptiform activities within the target. The irradiated S1Cx was unable to initiate seizures, whereas neighboring non-irradiated cortical and thalamic regions could still produce pathological oscillations. In vivo intracellular recordings showed that irradiated pyramidal neurons were strongly hyperpolarized and displayed a decreased excitability and a reduction of spontaneous synaptic activities. These functional alterations explain the suppression of large-scale synchronization within irradiated cortical networks. Our work provides the first post-irradiation electrophysiological recordings of individual neurons. Altogether, our data are a critical step towards understanding how X-ray radiation impacts neuronal physiology and epileptogenic processes.
In children with drug-resistant focal epilepsy who are candidates for surgery, invasive exploration is sometimes required. However, this is being controversially discussed for children younger than 3 years. The question of its necessity, feasibility and its risks is often raised, since it concerns primarily lesional epilepsy and a lesionectomy might be proposed right away. However, this attitude does not take into account the specificities of epilepsy at this age, including poor specificity of electroclinical semiology and the ongoing myelination challenging the interpretation of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
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