Imagerie à haute résolution dans les épilepsies focales

Chercheurs-boursiers- Junior 2 | Concours 2012-2013

Neda Ladbon Bernasconi

CUSM-Institut neurologique de Montréal


Domaine :Neurosciences, santé mentale et toxicomanies

Epilepsy affects about 1% of the general population. In up to 30% of patients, seizures cannot be controlled despite the best possible medication. The most common form of drug-resistant seizures is related to temporal lobe epilepsy (originating from a region of the brain called the temporal lobe). 

In the majority of patients who are unresponsive to medical treatment, a brain lesion is responsible for the seizures. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) plays a pivotal role in the evaluation of these patients by making it possible to detect lesions. In many patients, the surgical removal of the lesion can greatly attenuate or completely stop the epileptic attacks. However, in some, no lesion is seen on MRI due to their small size. In these circumstance patients have electrodes surgically inserted inside their brain. Such procedure is time consuming and expensive as they involve prolonged hospitalizations.

Drug-resistant epilepsy is also associated with damage in multiple brain regions (or networks) that are at distance from the primary lesion in the temporal lobe. These disturbances have negative consequences in the patients' daily life and may contribute to the unsatisfactory response to surgery in some.

My aim is to develop an integrated approach combining advanced functional and structural MRI techniques that are more powerful than standard clinical radiological analysis to detect very subtle brain lesions and to assess the nature of brain network disruption in temporal lobe epilepsy. I will also devise methods to inform patients about their chance to become seizure free after surgery. Thus, my research could make surgery available to many more patients, and reduce the complexity and cost of the pre-surgical evaluation.