Electroencephalography, magnetoencephalography and source localization: their value in epilepsy

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Source localization of cerebral activity using electroencephalography (EEG) or magnetoencephalography (MEG) can reveal noninvasively the generators of the abnormal signals recorded in epilepsy, such as interictal epileptic discharges (IEDs) and seizures. Here, we review recent progress showcasing the usefulness of these techniques in treating patients with drug-resistant epilepsy.

Recent findings

The source localization of IEDs by high-density EEG and MEG has now been proved in large patient cohorts to be accurate and clinically relevant, with positive and negative predictive values rivaling those of structural MRI. Localizing seizure onsets is an emerging technique that seems to perform similarly well to the localization of interictal spikes, although there remain questions regarding the processing of signals for reliable results. The localization of somatosensory cortex using EEG/MEG is well established. The localization of language cortex is less reliable, although progress has been made regarding hemispheric lateralization. Source localization is also able to reveal how epilepsy alters the dynamics of neuronal activity in the large-scale networks that underlie cerebral function.

Summary

Given the high performance of EEG/MEG source localization, these tools should find a place similar to that of established techniques like MRI in the assessment of patients for epilepsy surgery.

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