Features | Partner Sites | Information | LinkXpress
Sign In
ElsMed
Ampronix
Schiller

Research Demonstrates MRI Acts as Predictive Marker for Epilepsy Development Following Febrile Seizure

By Medimaging International staff writers
Posted on 16 Jul 2014
Within hours of a fever-induced seizure, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be able to identify brain changes that occur in those most likely to develop epilepsy later in life, according to recent animal research. The findings may soon help improve ways to detect children at an increased risk for developing epilepsy and direct efforts to prevent epilepsy development in those at greatest risk.

Convulsions brought on by fever, febrile seizures typically last only a few minutes and are relatively common in infants and small children. However, in some cases, children experience febrile seizures that last for more than 30 minutes (known as febrile status epilepticus [FSE]). Of these children, 40% will go on to develop temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE)—a typical and frequently treatment-resistant brain disorder. Physicians currently have no way to anticipate which of the children with a history of extended febrile seizures (FSE) will go on to develop TLE, and children typically do not experience the beginning of the disease until 10–12 years after the onset of FSE.

Tallie Z. Baram, MD, PhD, and her colleagues at the University of California-Irvine (USA), in this study, used MRI scanning to examine the brains of young rats right after after FSE was induced to compare the brains of the animals that would go on to develop TLE and those that would not. The researchers, who published their findings June 25, 2014, in the Journal of Neuroscience, monitored the rats as they developed over 10 months for signs of TLE. Of the animals that developed epilepsy over the course of the study, all had a distinctive MRI signal in a part of the brain called the amygdala when imaged within hours after the FSE. This signal was not visible in the rats that remained epilepsy-free for the duration of the experiment.

“This remarkable discovery got us to ask two key questions,” Dr. Baram said. “First, can we figure out what is going on in the brain that causes this new signal? And second, can we detect a similar predictive signal in children after febrile status epilepticus?”

Additional study into the origin of the MRI signal revealed that the brains of the lab rats that went on to develop epilepsy were consuming more energy and using up more oxygen in the amygdala hours after long febrile seizures than the brains of the rats that did not develop epilepsy later in life. “Detecting reduced oxygen may be an early marker of brain damage that leads to subsequent spontaneous seizures and epilepsy,” explained Hal Blumenfeld, MD, PhD, who studies epilepsy at Yale University (New Haven, CT, USA), and was not involved in this study.

Although the current study was conducted in rodents using a high-power laboratory scanner, additional studies by Dr. Baram’s group revealed that the epilepsy-predicting signal could be detected using a standard hospital MRI scanner. This indicates that similar evaluations could be done in children with FSE to begin to evaluate whether this signal appears in children after FSE and whether it predicts the emergence of epilepsy later on in life.

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

Related Links:

University of California-Irvine



Channels

Radiography

view channel

New Data Shows Most Patients Can Safely Undergo Contrast-Enhanced CT Scanning

According to new research, iodine-based contrast material injected intravenously (IV) to enhance computed tomography (CT) imaging can be safely used in most patients. The study’s findings were published online September 9, 2014, in the journal Radiology. Of the 80 million or more CT scans performed each year in the... Read more

Nuclear medicine

view channel

PET Imaging Reveals Brain Benefits from Weight Loss After Bariatric Surgery

Imaging studies revealed that weight loss surgery has been found to suppress changes in brain metabolism associated with obesity and improve cognitive function involved in planning, strategizing, and organizing. Therefore, researchers have hypothesized that a specific surgical procedure could reduce risk of Alzheimer’s... Read more

General/Advanced Imaging

view channel
Image: From left, Guy Genin, PhD, John Boyle and Stavros Thomopoulos, PhD, watch as a sample is exposed to stress and force. They have developed algorithms that may lead to the ability to identify weak spots in tendons, muscles and bones (Photo courtesy of Washington University in St. Louis).

Image Analysis Algorithms Devised to Find Weak Spots in Muscles, Tendons, and Bones prone to Tearing, Breaking

Researchers have developed algorithms to detect weak spots in muscles, tendons, and bones predisposed to tearing or breaking. The technology, which needs to be further refined before it is used in patients,... Read more

Imaging IT

view channel

Interactive Dashboard and Visualization Tool Designed for Oncologists

A new tool has been developed to help users of an information system for radiation oncology to analyze data and use metrics to help make more informed decisions. Varian Medical Systems (Palo Alto CA, USA), a developer of cancer treatment technology and informatics software for managing comprehensive cancer clinics, will... Read more

Industry News

view channel

Global Partnership Provides Treatment Planning Support for Modulated Arc Radiotherapy

Varian Medical Systems (Palo Alto, CA, USA) Eclipse treatment planning software can now be used to plan modulated arc radiotherapy (mARC) treatments at sites using Siemens Healthcare (Erlangen, Germany) medical linear accelerators. Varian Medical Systems and Siemens Healthcare presented their range of solutions that... Read more
 
Copyright © 2000-2014 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.