The cortical focus in childhood absence epilepsy
evidence from nonlinear analysis of scalp EEG recordings
AuthorSarrigiannis, Ptolemaios G.
Billings, Stephen A.
SourceClinical Neurophysiology: Official Journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology
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OBJECTIVE: To determine the origin and dynamic characteristics of the generalised hyper-synchronous spike and wave (SW) discharges in childhood absence epilepsy (CAE). METHODS: We applied nonlinear methods, the error reduction ratio (ERR) causality test and cross-frequency analysis, with a nonlinear autoregressive exogenous (NARX) model, to electroencephalograms (EEGs) from CAE, selected with stringent electro-clinical criteria (17 cases, 42 absences). We analysed the pre-ictal and ictal strength of association between homologous and heterologous EEG derivations and estimated the direction of synchronisation and corresponding time lags. RESULTS: A frontal/fronto-central onset of the absences is detected in 13 of the 17 cases with the highest ictal strength of association between homologous frontal followed by centro-temporal and fronto-central areas. Delays consistently in excess of 4 ms occur at the very onset between these regions, swiftly followed by the emergence of "isochronous" (0-2 ms) synchronisation but dynamic time lag changes occur during SW discharges. CONCLUSIONS: In absences an initial cortico-cortical spread leads to dynamic lag changes to include periods of isochronous interhemispheric synchronisation, which we hypothesize is mediated by the thalamus. SIGNIFICANCE: Absences from CAE show ictal epileptic network dynamics remarkably similar to those observed in WAG/Rij rats which guided the formulation of the cortical focus theory.