Noninvasive cortical imaging of epileptiform activities from interictal spikes in pediatric patients

Yuan Lai, Xin Zhang, Wim van Drongelen, Michael Korhman, Kurt Hecox, Ying Ni, Bin He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Improved non-invasive localization of the epileptogenic foci prior to epilepsy surgery would improve surgical outcome in patients with partial seizure disorders. A critical component for the identification of the epileptogenic brain is the analysis of electrophysiological data obtained during ictal activity from prolonged intracranial recordings. The development of a noninvasive means to identify the seizure onset zone (SOZ) would thus play an important role in treating patients with intractable epilepsy. In the present study, we have investigated non-invasive imaging of epileptiform activity in patients with medically intractable epilepsy by means of a cortical potential imaging (CPI) technique. Eight pediatric patients (1M/7F, ages 4-14. years) with intractable partial epilepsy were studied. Each patient had multiple (6 to 14) interictal spikes (IIS) subjected to the CPI analysis. Realistic geometry boundary element head models were built using each individual's MRI in order to maximize the imaging precision. CPI analysis was performed on the IISs, and extrema in the estimated CPI images were compared with SOZs as determined from the ictal electrocorticogram (ECoG) recordings, as well as the resected areas in the patients and surgical outcomes. The distances between the maximum cortical activities of the IISs reflected by the estimated cortical potential distributions and the SOZs were determined to quantitatively evaluate the performance of the CPI in localizing the epileptogenic zone. Ictal ECoG recordings revealed that six patients exhibited a single epileptogenic focus while two patients had multiple foci. In each patient, the CPI results revealed an area of activity overlapping with the SOZs as identified by ictal ECoG. The distance from the extreme of the CPI images at the peak of IIS to the nearest intracranial electrode associated with the onset of the ictal activity was evaluated for each patient and the averaged distance was 4.6. mm. In the group of patients studied, the CPI imaged epileptogenic foci were within the resected areas. According to the follow-up of the eight patients included, two were seizure free and six had substantial reduction in seizure frequency. These promising results demonstrate the potential for noninvasive localization of the epileptogenic focus from interictal scalp EEG recordings. Confirmation of our results may have a significant impact on the process of presurgical planning in pediatric patients with intractable epilepsy by dramatically reducing or potentially eliminating the use of intracranial recording.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-252
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by NIH RO1 EB007920 , RO1 EB006433 , RO1 EB00178 , and a grant from The Dr. Ralph and Marian Falk Medical Research Trust.


  • Cortical imaging
  • Epileptogenic focus
  • Interictal spike
  • Localization
  • Pediatric


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