Voxel-by-voxel comparison of automatically segmented cerebral gray matter--A rater-independent comparison of structural MRI in patients with epilepsy

Neuroimage. 1999 Oct;10(4):373-84. doi: 10.1006/nimg.1999.0481.


Quantitative evaluation of MRI in patients with epilepsy can give more information than qualitative assessment. Previously developed volume-of-interest-based methods identified subtle widespread structural changes in the neocortex beyond the visualized lesions in patients with malformations of cortical development (MCD) and hippocampal sclerosis (HS) and also in MRI-negative patients with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME). This study evaluates a voxel-based automated analysis of structural MRI in epilepsy. After fully automated segmentation of cerebral gray matter from structural T1-weighted, high-resolution MRI scans, we applied the automated and objective technique of statistical parametric mapping (SPM) to the analysis of gray matter of 35 control subjects, 10 patients with partial seizures and MCD, 10 patients with left temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) and HS, 10 patients with left TLE and normal MR quantitation of the hippocampus, and 20 patients with JME. At a corrected threshold of P < 0.05, significant abnormalities were found in 3/35 controls; in all 10 patients with MCD, 6 of whom had additional lesions beyond the margins of the visualized abnormalities; in 2/10 TLE patients with HS; in 2/10 MRI-negative TLE; and in 4/20 JME patients. Group comparisons between control subjects and HS patients identified the affected left temporal lobe with an increase in gray matter in the posterior temporal lobe, but did not identify hippocampal atrophy. The group of MRI-negative TLE patients showed no abnormalities compared with control subjects. Group comparison between control subjects and JME patients identified a mesial frontal increase in gray matter. The SPM-based voxel-by-voxel comparison of gray matter distribution identified MCD and abnormalities beyond the visualized lesion in individual MCD patients. The method did not reliably identify HS in individual patients or identify abnormalities in individual MRI-negative patients with TLE or JME in a proportion larger than the chance findings in the control group. Using group comparisons, structural abnormalities in the neocortical gray matter of patients with TLE and HS were lateralized to the affected temporal lobe. In patients with JME as a group, an increase in gray matter was localized to the mesial frontal area, corroborating earlier quantitative MRI findings.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Automation
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myoclonic Epilepsy, Juvenile / pathology
  • Periaqueductal Gray / anatomy & histology
  • Periaqueductal Gray / pathology*
  • Reference Values