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MRI May Predict Epilepsy After Childhood Seizure

July 11, 2014
Written by: , Filed in: Neuroradiology, Pediatric Radiology
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MRI, by detecting changes in a specific area of the brain, may be able to predict which children will later develop epilepsy after suffering fever-related seizures, according to new research.

The finding, published last month in The Journal of Neuroscienceis based on studies of rats, so considerable  work remains before the technique could possibly reach clinical use. But the marker seems promising as a way to flag and possibly even prevent a disorder that develops usually after a delay of a decade or more.

Febrile seizures are relatively common in infants and small children and usually last only a few minutes. However, some children experience seizures that last for more than 30 minutes, known as febrile status epilepticus (FSE). Of those children, approximately 40 percent will develop temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), typically 10 to 12 years after the onset of seizures. TLE is hard to treat, and no preventive measures have been developed. That, said Tallie Z. Baram, MD, PhD, senior author of the journal article, explains the significance of the MRI marker:

Preventive therapy development is hampered by our inability to identify early the individuals who will develop TLE. Finding a predictive signal using clinically applicable noninvasive brain scans holds promise for predicting epilepsy after FSE.

Dr. Baram is professor of pediatrics, anatomy and neurobiology, and neurology at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine. She was quoted in news release from the Society for Neuroscience, which publishes The Journal of Neuroscience.

The researchers discovered that, at least in rats, MRI found a distinctive marker in all of the animals that developed epilepsy: the amygdala was consuming more energy and using up more oxygen than usual within hours of the febrile seizure. The marker did not show up in rats that remained free of epilepsy.

The Society for Neuroscience quoted Hal Blumenfeld, MD, PhD, who studies epilepsy at Yale School of Medicine and was not involved in this study, as speculating, “Detecting reduced oxygen may be an early marker of brain damage that leads to subsequent spontaneous seizures and epilepsy.” We’ll have to wait and see whether the same marker shows up in humans.

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One Response to “MRI May Predict Epilepsy After Childhood Seizure”

  1. MRI May Predict Epilepsy After Childhood Seizure - Radiology Daily | welcome to radiologysecrets.comwelcome to radiologysecrets.com on July 11th, 2014 at 5:57 am

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