Simultaneous scalp EEG-fMRI measurements allow the study of epileptic networks and more generally, of the coupling between neuronal activity and haemodynamic changes in the brain. Intracranial EEG (icEEG) has greater sensitivity and spatial specificity than scalp EEG but limited spatial sampling. We performed simultaneous icEEG and functional MRI recordings in epileptic patients to study the haemodynamic correlates of intracranial interictal epileptic discharges (IED). Two patients undergoing icEEG with subdural and depth electrodes as part of the presurgical assessment of their pharmaco-resistant epilepsy participated in the study. They were scanned on a 1.5 T MR scanner following a strict safety protocol. Simultaneous recordings of fMRI and icEEG were obtained at rest. IED were subsequently visually identified on icEEG and their fMRI correlates were mapped using a general linear model (GLM). On scalp EEG-fMRI recordings performed prior to the implantation, no IED were detected. icEEG-fMRI was well tolerated and no adverse health effect was observed. intra-MR icEEG was comparable to that obtained outside the scanner. In both cases, significant haemodynamic changes were revealed in relation to IED, both close to the most active electrode contacts and at distant sites. In one case, results showed an epileptic network including regions that could not be sampled by icEEG, in agreement with findings from magneto-encephalography, offering some explanation for the persistence of seizures after surgery. Hence, icEEG-fMRI allows the study of whole-brain human epileptic networks with unprecedented sensitivity and specificity. This could help improve our understanding of epileptic networks with possible implications for epilepsy surgery.
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