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Keywords:

  • Epileptic encephalopathy;
  • fMRI ;
  • Neuroimaging;
  • West syndrome;
  • Lennox-Gastaut syndrome

Summary

Epileptic encephalopathies (EEs) represent a group of severe epileptic disorders associated with cognitive and behavioral disturbances. The mechanisms of cognitive disability in EEs remain unclear. This review summarized neuroimaging studies that have tried to describe specific fingerprints of brain activation in EE. Although the epileptic activity can be generated individually in different brain regions, it seems likely that the activity propagates in a syndrome-specific way. In some EEs, the epileptiform discharges were associated with an interruption of activity in the default mode network. In another EE, other mechanisms seem to underlie cognitive disability associated with epileptic activity, for example, abnormal connectivity pattern or interfering activity in the thalamocortical network. Further neuroimaging studies are needed to investigate the short-term and long-term impact of epileptic activity on cognition and development.