Virtual Cortical Resection Reveals Push-Pull Network Control Preceding Seizure Evolution

Neuron. 2016 Sep 7;91(5):1170-1182. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.07.039. Epub 2016 Aug 25.


In ∼20 million people with drug-resistant epilepsy, focal seizures originating in dysfunctional brain networks will often evolve and spread to surrounding tissue, disrupting function in otherwise normal brain regions. To identify network control mechanisms that regulate seizure spread, we developed a novel tool for pinpointing brain regions that facilitate synchronization in the epileptic network. Our method measures the impact of virtually resecting putative control regions on synchronization in a validated model of the human epileptic network. By applying our technique to time-varying functional networks, we identified brain regions whose topological role is to synchronize or desynchronize the epileptic network. Our results suggest that greater antagonistic push-pull interaction between synchronizing and desynchronizing brain regions better constrains seizure spread. These methods, while applied here to epilepsy, are generalizable to other brain networks and have wide applicability in isolating and mapping functional drivers of brain dynamics in health and disease.

Keywords: epileptic network; network neuroscience; push-pull control; seizure spread; synchronizability.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain / surgery*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Computer Simulation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiopathology
  • Neural Pathways / surgery
  • Seizures / physiopathology*
  • Seizures / surgery
  • Young Adult