Focal structural changes and cognitive dysfunction in juvenile myoclonic epilepsy

Neurology. 2011 Jan 4;76(1):34-40. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e318203e93d.


Objective: The aim of this study was to determine if there were focal cortical abnormalities in juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) using neuropsychological investigations and MRI.

Methods: Twenty-eight patients with JME and a large sample of healthy controls were assessed using a series of neuropsychological tests as well as structural and diffusion tensor MRI (DTI). DTI measures assessed fractional anisotropy (FA) within a white matter skeleton.

Results: Neuropsychological testing indicated subtle dysfunctions in verbal fluency, comprehension, and expression, as well as nonverbal memory and mental flexibility. Utilizing whole-brain voxel-based morphometry for gray matter MRI data and tract-based spatial statistics for white matter diffusion MRI data, we found reductions in gray matter volume (GMV) in the supplementary motor area and posterior cingulate cortex and reductions in FA in underlying white matter of the corpus callosum. Supplementary motor area FA predicted scores in word naming tasks and expression scores. Posterior cingulate cortex GMV and FA predicted cognitive inhibition scores on the mental flexibility task.

Conclusions: The neuropsychological, structural, and tractography results implicate mesial frontal cortex, especially the supplementary motor area, and posterior cingulate cortex in JME.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anisotropy
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging / methods
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myoclonic Epilepsy, Juvenile / complications*
  • Myoclonic Epilepsy, Juvenile / pathology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests