Matthias J. Koepp*, John Duncan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose of review: The purpose of this review is to consider the current and potential role of neuroimaging from an epilepsy perspective, and to illustrate that by combining appropriate imaging techniques, neuroimaging can contribute greatly to elucidating the basic mechanisms of the various forms of epileptic disorders. Recent findings: New magnetic resonance imaging sequences (magnetization transfer imaging) and positron emission tomography ligands (serotonergic system) were biologically validated in large groups of patients with localization-related epilepsies. Investigations in genetically determined homogenous patient populations (PAX6, juvenile myoclonic epilepsy) have strengthened the link between genetic defects and neuropathological targets (anterior commissure, thalamus). Magnetic resonance spectroscopy and electroencephalogram-triggered functional magnetic resonance imaging provided converging evidence for a key role of the thalamus in the generation of generalized seizures. The role of functional magnetic resonance imaging in identifying eloquent areas of cortex and its relationship to structural lesions, in particular malformations of cortical development, has been further elucidated. Longitudinal magnetic resonance imaging studies reported progressive volume loss after febrile convulsions and in active epilepsy. Summary: Neuroimaging is essential for improving the efficacy and safety of therapeutic, in particular, surgical procedures. Investigations of larger, more homogenous genetic disorders and longitudinal rather than cross-sectional neuroimaging studies have advanced our knowledge about the cause and effect of epileptic disorders, and will ultimately link defects in molecular genetics with specific neuropathological targets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-474
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Neurology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004


  • Focal epilepsy
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • Idiopathic generalized epilepsy
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Magnetic resonance spectroscopy
  • Malformation of cortical development
  • Positron emission tomography


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