Functional and structural brain networks in epilepsy: what have we learned?

Epilepsia. 2013 Nov;54(11):1855-65. doi: 10.1111/epi.12350. Epub 2013 Sep 13.


Brain functioning is increasingly seen as a complex interplay of dynamic neural systems that rely on the integrity of structural and functional networks. Recent studies that have investigated functional and structural networks in epilepsy have revealed specific disruptions in connectivity and network topology and, consequently, have led to a shift from "focus" to "networks" in modern epilepsy research. Disruptions in these networks may be associated with cognitive and behavioral impairments often seen in patients with chronic epilepsy. In this review, we aim to provide an overview that would introduce the clinical neurologist and epileptologist to this new theoretical paradigm. We focus on the application of a theory, called "network analysis," to characterize resting-state functional and structural networks and discuss current and future clinical applications of network analysis in patients with epilepsy.

Keywords: Cognition; Functional and structural networks; Graph theory; Network analysis; Seizure generation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Cognition
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Nerve Net / physiopathology*