Journal of Pediatric Epilepsy 2015; 04(04): 174-183
DOI: 10.1055/s-0035-1559812
Review Article
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Simultaneous Electroencephalography and Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging and the Identification of Epileptic Networks in Children

Thomas C. Maloney
1   Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Jeffrey R. Tenney
1   Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Jerzy P. Szaflarski
2   University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, United States
Jennifer Vannest
1   Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

03 July 2014

04 December 2014

Publication Date:
18 August 2015 (online)


Electroencephalography and functional magnetic resonance imaging (EEG/fMRI) takes advantage of the high temporal resolution of EEG in combination with the high spatial resolution of fMRI. These features make it particularly applicable to the study of epilepsy in which the event duration (e.g., interictal epileptiform discharges) is short, typically less than 200 ms. Interictal or ictal discharges can be identified on EEG and be used for source localization in fMRI analyses. The acquisition of simultaneous EEG/fMRI involves the use of specialized EEG hardware that is safe in the MR environment and comfortable to the participant. Advanced data analysis approaches such as independent component analysis conducted alone or sometimes combined with others, for example, Granger causality or “sliding window” analyses are currently thought to be most appropriate for EEG/fMRI data. These approaches make it possible to identify networks of brain regions associated with ictal and/or interictal events allowing examination of the mechanisms critical for generation and propagation through these networks. After initial evaluation in adults, EEG/fMRI has been applied to the examination of the pediatric epilepsy syndromes, including childhood absence epilepsy, benign epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes, Dravet syndrome, and Lennox–Gastaut syndrome. Results of EEG/fMRI studies suggest that the hemodynamic response measured by fMRI may have a different shape in response to epileptic events compared with the response to external stimuli; this may be especially true in the developing brain. Thus, the main goal of this review is to provide an overview of the pediatric applications of EEG/fMRI and its associated findings up until this point.