Epilepsy and anomalies of neuronal migration: MRI and clinical aspects


Department of Neurology, University Hospital, N-7006 Trondheim, Norway


Neuronal migration disorders are the result of disturbed brain development. In such disorders, neurons are abnormally located. In diagnosing these conditions, magnetic resonance imaging is superior to any other imaging technique. This enables us to improve our knowledge of the clinical correlates of neuronal migration. With reference to migrational disorder, a retrospective study of all 303 patients with epileptic seizures referred for magnetic resonance imaging during a 3-year period was performed, 13 patients (aged 12–41, mean age 27) were identified. They represent 4.3 % of the entire study group. Of the patients with known epilepsy, 6.7% and of the mentally retarded, 13.7% had migrational disorders. Four patients had schizencephaly as the dominant finding, one was classified as hemimegalencephaly, 2 had isolated heterotopias, and 6 had localized pachy-and/or poly-microgyria. The clinical pictures are complex. Ectopias of grey matter are recognised foci of epilepsy, but from an epileptological and a clinical viewpoint little attention has been given to these disorders. The present study shows that malmigration is not rare in epilepsy patients, especially not in the mentally retarded.