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Combining EEG and fMRI to study epileptic foci and networks

Dr. Jean Gotman, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University

Combining EEG and fMRI to study epileptic foci and networks

Dr. J. Gotman

  • CREATE-MIA Event
  • Seminar
When Apr 08, 2016
from 01:35 PM to 02:35 PM
Where McConnell Engineering MC437
Attendees All CREATE-MIA Trainees
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Interictal epileptic discharges recorded in the EEG of epileptic patients provide useful information regarding the type of epilepsy and the localization of the epileptic generator. The spatial resolution of EEG is however not very high and the EEG cannot see deep in the brain. If the EEG is recorded during functional MRI scanning (fMRI), it is possible to study the metabolic changes caused by these epileptic discharges (increases or decreased in the BOLD signal compared to baseline). The most intense BOLD changes reflect the regions with the most intense neuronal discharges, which are presumably the source of that discharge. These can be located anywhere in the brain.

In patients with generalized epilepsy, such studies have revealed a clear involvement of the thalamus as well as unexpected findings, particularly the involvement of the Default Mode Network as a factor in diminishing consciousness during small seizures.

In patients who are candidate for the surgical treatment of their medically refractory focal epilepsy, EEG-fMRI studies have revealed regions of activation that help significantly in the planning of surgery or the planning of invasive electrophysiological studies. We have found in particular that if the maximal BOLD response is not part of the resected brain tissue, the likelihood of surgical success is low. EEG-fMRI studies have also demonstrated that there is frequently a network of regions involved in some epileptic discharges that were often thought to be restricted to a focal region.


Jean Gotman obtained a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Paris in 1969, a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Dartmouth College in the USA in 1971 and a PhD in Neuroscience from McGill University in 1976. He joined the faculty of the Montreal Neurological Institute of McGill in 1977 and became full professor in 1993. His research interests center on analysis of the EEG, mechanisms of epileptogenesis and seizure spread in humans, and functional imaging in the diagnosis and study of epilepsy. His methods of automatic detection of spikes and seizures are used worldwide. He has published over 250 peer-reviewed papers. In 1986, he created Stellate, a company that developed and sold all over the world equipment for EEG, long-term epilepsy monitoring and polysomnography. He received the Research Recognition Award from the American Epilepsy Society, the Pierre Gloor Award of the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society and was recently name Ambassador for Epilepsy by the International League against Epilepsy.

« December 2021 »
Funded by NSERC

Funding provided by NSERC