Neurocysticercosis (NCC)-a parasitic CNS infection endemic to developing nations-has been called the leading global cause of acquired epilepsy yet remains understudied. It is currently unknown why a large proportion of patients develop recurrent seizures, often following the presentation of acute seizures. Furthermore, the presentation of NCC is heterogenous and the features that predispose to the development of an epileptogenic state remain uncertain. Perilesional factors (such as oedema and gliosis) have been implicated in NCC-related ictogenesis, but the effects of cystic factors, including lesion load and location, seem not to play a role in the development of habitual epilepsy. In addition, the cytotoxic consequences of the cyst's degenerative stages are varied and the majority of research, relying on retrospective data, lacks the necessary specificity to distinguish between acute symptomatic and unprovoked seizures. Previous research has established that epileptogenesis can be the consequence of abnormal network connectivity, and some imaging studies have suggested that a causative link may exist between NCC and aberrant network organisation. In wider epilepsy research, network approaches have been widely adopted; studies benefiting predominantly from the rich, multimodal data provided by advanced MRI methods are at the forefront of the field. Quantitative MRI approaches have the potential to elucidate the lesser-understood epileptogenic mechanisms of NCC. This review will summarise the current understanding of the relationship between NCC and epilepsy, with a focus on MRI methodologies. In addition, network neuroscience approaches with putative value will be highlighted, drawing from current imaging trends in epilepsy research.
Keywords: Epilepsy; Imaging; NCC; Network neuroscience; Neurocysticercosis; Seizure.
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