Functional and structural brain networks in epilepsy: What have we learned?

Authors

  • Eric van Diessen,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Pediatric Neurology, Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
    • Address correspondence to Eric van Diessen, Department of Pediatric Neurology, Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, University Medical Center Utrecht, KC 03.063.0; PO Box 85090, 3508 AB Utrecht, The Netherlands. E-mail: e.vandiessen-3@umcutrecht.nl

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  • Sander J. H. Diederen,

    1. Department of Pediatric Neurology, Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
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  • Kees P. J. Braun,

    1. Department of Pediatric Neurology, Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
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  • Floor E. Jansen,

    1. Department of Pediatric Neurology, Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
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  • Cornelis J. Stam

    1. Department of Clinical Neurophysiology and MEG, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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Summary

Brain functioning is increasingly seen as a complex interplay of dynamic neural systems that rely on the integrity of structural and functional networks. Recent studies that have investigated functional and structural networks in epilepsy have revealed specific disruptions in connectivity and network topology and, consequently, have led to a shift from “focus” to “networks” in modern epilepsy research. Disruptions in these networks may be associated with cognitive and behavioral impairments often seen in patients with chronic epilepsy. In this review, we aim to provide an overview that would introduce the clinical neurologist and epileptologist to this new theoretical paradigm. We focus on the application of a theory, called “network analysis,” to characterize resting-state functional and structural networks and discuss current and future clinical applications of network analysis in patients with epilepsy.

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