The perisylvian epileptic network. A unifying concept.

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30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this work the authors provide evidences for a unifying concept of the syndromes of benign focal childhood epilepsies, Landau-Kleffner syndrome, and electrical status epilepticus in sleep treating them as a spectrum of disorders with a common transient, age dependent, non lesional, genetically based epileptogenic abnormality, the nature of which is still not known. The electro-clinical features of these syndromes are congruent with the different degree involvement of the perisylvian cognitive network and with the involvement of the thalamo-cortical associative system of variable degree. These epilepsies are characterized by the abundance of regional epileptiform discharges in sharp contrast with the rare and in several cases lacking seizures. The nature and severity of interictal cognitive symptoms are closely related to localization within the network and amount of epileptic interictal discharges. Spike-wave discharges are attributed to an alternation of overexcitation (spikes) and overinhibition (waves). The recurrent overinhibition represented by the wave of the discharges may interfere with the continuous depolarization of the cells of a large population of neurons, which is a requirement of the overt seizures. The overinhibition also interfere with cognitive processes which are correlated with the continuous presence of the fast (gamma) activity, binding the required cortical areas. Hence the recurrent inhibition works against the existence of the binding fast frequency activity. This is the assumed reason for the co-existence of the relative lack of overt seizures and in the same time for the frequently observed epileptogenic cognitive deficit symptoms ("cognitive epilepsies"). The time course of these syndromes overlaps with important developmental milestones. The frequent epileptic discharges alters the evolution of the perisylvian network developing late after early childhood and is very vulnerable for any interference in this imprinting time for speech and other cognitive functions. This spectrum of disorders represents a type of age linked, mild to severe 'epileptic encephalopathy' limited to the perisylvian network, where the cognitive impairment is caused by epileptic discharges interfering with cognitive development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-31
Number of pages11
JournalIdeggyógyászati szemle
Volume58
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 20 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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