10 June 2016 : Clinical Research
Med Sci Monit 2016; 22:1966-1975
BACKGROUND: Genetic generalized epilepsies (GGEs) are associated with microstructural brain abnormalities that can be evaluated with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Available studies on GGEs have conflicting results. Our primary goal was to compare the white matter structure in a cohort of patients with video/EEG-confirmed GGEs to healthy controls (HCs). Our secondary goal was to assess the potential effect of age at GGE onset on the white matter structure.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: A convenience sample of 23 patients with well-characterized treatment-resistant GGEs (13 female) was compared to 23 HCs. All participants received MRI at 3T. DTI indices, including fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD), were compared between groups using Tract-Based Spatial Statistics (TBSS).
RESULTS: After controlling for differences between groups, abnormalities in DTI parameters were observed in patients with GGEs, including decreases in functional anisotropy (FA) in the hemispheric (left>right) and brain stem white matter. The examination of the effect of age at GGE onset on the white matter integrity revealed a significant negative correlation in the left parietal white matter region FA (R=–0.504; p=0.017); similar trends were observed in the white matter underlying left motor cortex (R=–0.357; p=0.103) and left posterior limb of the internal capsule (R=–0.319; p=0.148).
CONCLUSIONS: Our study confirms the presence of widespread white matter abnormalities in patients with GGEs and provides evidence that the age at GGE onset may have an important effect on white matter integrity.
Keywords: Case-Control Studies, Brain - physiology, Diffusion Tensor Imaging - methods, Electroencephalography - methods, Epilepsy, Generalized - pathology, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, White Matter - pathology
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