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Zürich, Switzerland

Schmutz M.,Swiss Epilepsy Center
Epilepsy and Behavior | Year: 2013

Dissociative seizures are commonly recognized as both a challenging and a poorly understood condition. Though research and publication activity is high, advances in knowledge and insight seem only moderate in recent years. This review focuses on some relevant problematic issues, which might account for a still unsatisfactory research state. A general tendency to deal with dissociative seizures as an assumed disorder in its own nosological right and not as a sole symptom of an underlying psychiatric disorder is most likely one of the major roots of the problem. Unfavorable impacts of this confusion pertaining to clinical management, therapy, and outcome of dissociative seizures are discussed. An alternative point of view, based on the immanent psychiatric and psychodynamic roots of dissociative seizures, is considered.© 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Reuber M.,University of Sheffield | Kurthen M.,Swiss Epilepsy Center
Behavioural Neurology | Year: 2011

Non-epileptic attack disorder (NEAD) is one of the most important differential diagnoses of epilepsy. Impairment of consciousness is the key feature of non-epileptic attacks (NEAs). The first half of this review summarises the clinical research literature featuring observations relating to consciousness in NEAD. The second half places this evidence in the wider context of the recent discourse on consciousness in neuroscience and the philosophy of mind. We argue that studies of consciousness should not only distinguish between the 'level' and 'content' of consciousness but also between 'phenomenal consciousness' (consciousness of states it somehow "feels to be like") and 'access consciousness' (having certain 'higher' cognitive processes at one's disposal). The existing evidence shows that there is a great intra- and interindividual variability of NEA experience. However, in most NEAs phenomenal experience - and, as a precondition for that experience, vigilance or wakefulness - is reduced to a lesser degree than in those epileptic seizures involving impairment of consciousness. In fact, complete loss of "consciousness" is the exception rather than the rule in NEAs. Patients, as well as external observers, may have a tendency to overestimate impairments of consciousness during the seizures.

Wellmer J.,University of Bonn | Parpaley Y.,University of Bonn | Von Lehe M.,University of Bonn | Huppertz H.-J.,Swiss Epilepsy Center
Neurosurgery | Year: 2010

OBJECTIVE: Focal cortical dysplasias (FCDs) are highly epileptogenic lesions. Surgical removal is frequently the best treatment option for pharmacoresistant epilepsy. However, subtle FCDs may remain undetected even after high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Morphometric MRI analysis, which compares the individual brain with a normal database, can facilitate the detection of FCDs. We describe how the results of normal database-based MRI postprocessing can be used to guide stereotactic electrode implantation and subsequent resection of lesions that are suspected to be FCDs. METHODS: A presurgical evaluation was conducted on a 19-year-old woman with pharmacoresistant hypermotor seizures. Conventional high-resolution MRI was classified as negative for epileptogenic lesions. However, morphometric analysis of the spatially normalized MRI revealed abnormal gyration and blurring of the gray-white matter junction, which was suggestive of a small and deeply seated FCD in the left frontal lobe. RESULTS: The brain region highlighted by morphometric analysis was marked as a region of interest, transferred back to the original dimension of the individual MRI, and imported into a neuronavigation system. This allowed the region of interest-targeted stereotactic implantation of 2 depth electrodes, by which seizure onset was confirmed in the lesion. The electrodes also guided the final resection, which rendered the patient seizure-free. The lesion was histologically classified as FCD Palmini and Lüders IIB. CONCLUSION: Transferring normal database-based MRI postprocessing results into a neuronavigation system is a new and worthwhile extension of multimodal neuronavigation. The combination of resulting regions of interest with functional and anatomic data may facilitate planning of electrode implantation for invasive electroencephalographic recordings and the final resection of small or deeply seated FCDs. Copyright © 2010 by the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Frings L.,Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg | Mader I.,Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg | Landwehrmeyer B.G.,University of Ulm | Weiller C.,Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg | And 2 more authors.
Human Brain Mapping | Year: 2012

A novel method of automated MRI volumetry was used to study regional atrophy and disease progression in repeated MRI measurements of patients with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Fifty-nine structural MRI data sets of 17 clinically diagnosed FTLD patients were acquired over up to 30 months in intervals of 6 months and compared with data of 30 age-matched healthy controls. Patients were further subgrouped into behavioral variant FTLD (bvFTLD), progressive nonfluent aphasia (PNFA), and semantic dementia (SemD). Gray matter (GM) volumes of frontal lobes (FL) and temporal lobes (TL) were determined by voxel-based volumetry based on SPM5 algorithms and a probabilistic brain atlas. MRI volumetry revealed frontal and temporal GM atrophy across FTLD patients, with further progression over time. Significant side asymmetry of TL volumes was found in SemD. The ratio of TL to FL volumes was significantly reduced in SemD and increased in bvFTLD. Using this ratio, 6/7 SemD patients and 5/6 bvFTLD patients could be correctly differentiated. TL/FL ratios in bvFTLD and SemD further diverged significantly over a time span of only 6 months. Rates of temporal GM loss per 6 months were 3-4% in SemD, and 2.5% for frontal GM loss in bvFTLD, and thereby clearly exceeded published cerebral volume loss in healthy elderly subjects. The study presents a fully automated, observer-independent volumetric assessment of regional atrophy which allows differentiation of FTLD subgroups. Its sensitivity for atrophy progression-even in such short intervals like 6 months-might benefit future clinical trials as treatment outcome measure. ©; 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Hoffmann J.,Charite - Medical University of Berlin | Huppertz H.-J.,Swiss Epilepsy Center | Schmidt C.,Charite - Medical University of Berlin | Kunte H.,Charite - Medical University of Berlin | And 4 more authors.
Cephalalgia | Year: 2013

Objective: We aimed at validating established imaging features of idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) by using stateof- the-art MR imaging together with advanced post-processing techniques and correlated imaging findings to clinical scores. Methods: Twenty-five IIH patients as well as age-, sex- and body mass index (BMI)-matched controls underwent highresolution T1w and T2w MR imaging in a 1.5 T scanner, followed by assessment of optic nerve sheaths, pituitary gland, ventricles and Meckel's cave. Imaging findings were correlated with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) opening pressures and clinical symptom scores of visual disturbances (visual field defects or enlarged blind spot), headache, tinnitus (pulsatile and nonpulsatile) and vertigo. CSF as well as ventricle volumes were determined by using an automated MRI volumetry algorithm. Results: So-called 'empty sella' and optic nerve sheath distension were identified as reliable imaging signs in IIH. Posterior globe flattening turned out as a highly specific but not very sensitive sign. No abnormalities of the lateral ventricles were observed. These morphometric results could be confirmed using MR volumetry (VBM). Clinical symptoms did not correlate with an increase in lumbar opening pressure. Conclusions: Our study results indicate that lateral ventricle size is not affected in IIH. In contrast, abnormalities of the pituitary gland and optic nerve sheath were reliable diagnostic signs for IIH. © 2013 International Headache Society.

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