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Keywords:

  • Seizure;
  • Source localization;
  • Graph analysis;
  • Electrocorticography

Summary

Purpose:  The current gold standard for the localization of the cortical regions responsible for the initiation and propagation of the ictal activity is through the use of invasive electrocorticography (ECoG). This method is utilized to guide surgical intervention in cases of medically intractable epilepsy by identifying the location and extent of the epileptogenic focus. Recent studies have proposed mechanisms in which the activity of epileptogenic cortical networks, rather than discrete focal sources, contributes to the generation of the ictal state. If true, selective modulation of key network components could be employed for the prevention and termination of the ictal state.

Methods:  Here, we have applied graph theory methods as a means to identify critical network nodes in cortical networks during both ictal and interictal states. ECoG recordings were obtained from a cohort of 25 patients undergoing presurgical monitoring for the treatment of intractable epilepsy at the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN, U.S.A.).

Key Findings:  One graph measure, the betweenness centrality, was found to correlate with the location of the resected cortical regions in patients who were seizure-free following surgical intervention. Furthermore, these network interactions were also observed during random nonictal periods as well as during interictal spike activity. These network characteristics were found to be frequency dependent, with high frequency gamma band activity most closely correlated with improved postsurgical outcome as has been reported in previous literature.

Significance:  These findings could lead to improved understanding of epileptogenesis. In addition, this theoretically allows for more targeted therapeutic interventions through the selected modulation or disruption of these epileptogenic networks.