Dense array EEG: methodology and new hypothesis on epilepsy syndromes

Epilepsia. 2008:49 Suppl 3:3-14. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2008.01505.x.


Dense array EEG is a method of recording electroencephalography (EEG) with many more electrodes (up to 256) than is utilized with standard techniques that typically employ 19-21 scalp electrodes. The rationale for this approach is to enhance the spatial resolution of scalp EEG. In our research, dense array EEG is used in conjunction with a realistic model of head tissue conductivity and methods of electrographic source analysis to determine cerebral cortical localization of epileptiform discharges. In studies of patients with absence seizures, only localized cortical regions are involved during the attack. Typically, absences are accompanied by "wave-spike" complexes that show, both at the beginning and throughout the ictus, repetitive cycles of stereotyped, localized involvement of mainly mesial and orbital frontal cortex. Dense array EEG can also be used for long-term EEG video monitoring (LTM). We have used dense array EEG LTM to capture seizures in over 40 patients with medically refractory localization-related epilepsy, including both temporal and extra temporal cases, where standard LTM failed to reveal reliable ictal localization. One research goal is to test the validity of dense array LTM findings by comparison with invasive LTM and surgical outcome. Collection of a prospective series of surgical candidates who undergo both procedures is currently underway. Analysis of subjects with either generalized or localization-related seizures suggest that all seizures, including those traditionally classified as "generalized," propagate through discrete cortical networks. Furthermore, based on initial review of propagation patterns, we hypothesize that all epileptic seizures may be fundamentally corticothalamic or corticolimbic in nature. Dense array EEG may prove useful in noninvasive ictal localization, when standard methods fail. Future research will determine if the method will reduce the need for invasive EEG recordings, or assist in the appropriate placement of novel treatment devices.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping / instrumentation
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Electrodes
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Electroencephalography / methods*
  • Electroencephalography / statistics & numerical data
  • Electroencephalography / trends
  • Epilepsies, Partial / diagnosis
  • Epilepsies, Partial / physiopathology
  • Epilepsies, Partial / surgery
  • Epilepsy, Absence / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy, Absence / physiopathology
  • Epilepsy, Absence / surgery
  • Epilepsy, Generalized / diagnosis*
  • Epilepsy, Generalized / physiopathology
  • Epilepsy, Generalized / surgery
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods
  • Neural Pathways / physiopathology
  • Neural Pathways / surgery
  • Preoperative Care / methods
  • Preoperative Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Scalp
  • Syndrome
  • Videotape Recording