To study the neural networks reorganization in pediatric epilepsy, a consortium of imaging centers was established to collect functional imaging data. Common paradigms and similar acquisition parameters were used. We studied 122 children (64 control and 58 LRE patients) across five sites using EPI BOLD fMRI and an auditory description decision task. After normalization to the MNI atlas, activation maps generated by FSL were separated into three sub-groups using a distance method in the principal component analysis (PCA)-based decisional space. Three activation patterns were identified: (1) the typical distributed network expected for task in left inferior frontal gyrus (Broca's) and along left superior temporal gyrus (Wernicke's) (60 controls, 35 patients); (2) a variant left dominant pattern with greater activation in IFG, mesial left frontal lobe, and right cerebellum (three controls, 15 patients); and (3) activation in the right counterparts of the first pattern in Broca's area (one control, eight patients). Patients were over represented in Groups 2 and 3 (P < 0.0004). There were no scanner (P = 0.4) or site effects (P = 0.6). Our data-driven method for fMRI activation pattern separation is independent of a priori notions and bias inherent in region of interest and visual analyses. In addition to the anticipated atypical right dominant activation pattern, a sub-pattern was identified that involved intensity and extent differences of activation within the distributed left hemisphere language processing network. These findings suggest a different, perhaps less efficient, cognitive strategy for LRE group to perform the task.
Copyright © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.