Clinical Neuroscience

[Diagnosis of epilepsy]


JUNE 10, 2004

Clinical Neuroscience - 2004;57(05-06)

[0.5-1% of the population suffers from epilepsy, while another 5% undergoes diagnostic evaluations due to the possibility of epilepsy. In the case of suspected epileptic seizures we face the following questions: Is it an epileptic seizure? The main and most frequent differential- diagnostic problems are the psychogenic non-epileptic seizures ("pseudo-seizures") and the convulsive syncope, which is often caused by heart disorders. Is it epilepsy? After an unprovoked seizure, the information on recurrence risk is an important question. The reoccurrence is more possible if a known etiological factor is present or the EEG shows epileptiform discharges. After an isolated epileptic seizure, the EEG is specific to epilepsy in 30-50% of cases. The EEG should take place within 24 hours postictally. If the EEG shows no epileptiform potentials, a sleep-EEG is required. What is the cause of seizures? Hippocampal sclerosis, benign tumors, and malformations of the cortical development are the most frequent causes of the focal epilepsy. Three potentially life-threatening conditions may cause chronic epilepsy: vascular malformations, tumors, and neuroinfections. The diagnosis in theses cases can usually be achieved by MRI, therefore, MRI is obligatory in all epilepsies starting in adulthood. The presence of epileptogenic lesion has a prognostic significance in treatment. If the MRI shows a circumscribed lesion then the pharmacological treatment will likely to be unsuccessful, while surgery may result in seizure freedom. The new and quantitative MRI techniques, such as volumetry, T2-relaxometry, MR-spectroscopy, and functional MRI play a growing role in the epilepsy diagnosis.]



Further articles in this publication

Clinical Neuroscience

[Surgical treatment of epilepsy]


[In this article the possibilities, indications, methods and results of surgery in epilepsy are summarized in general with the Hungarian experience emphasized. Surgery may provide effective treatment in about 5-10% of the epileptic population. Surgical solution nowadays became an essential treatment in medial temporal epilepsy, if hippocampal sclerosis or other lesion is present, in therapy resistent lesional extratemporal epilepsies and in catastrophic childhood epilepsies if the epileptic disorder is restricted to one hemisphere (Rasmussen syndrome, hemimegalencephaly, Sturge-Weber disease and posttraumatic or postencephalitic hemispherial epilepsies). The algorhythms of the presurgical evaluation and the current methods for study the pacemaker area, forbidden zones, and hemispherial functions are treated. The currently used type and techniques of surgery, such as lesionectomy, temporal lobe resections, hemispherotomy, callosotomy, multiple subpial transsections and their indications are described. The newest surgical approaches, as deep brain stimulation, vagal nerve stimulation, and irradiation techniques are also briefly touched. Lastly, we deal with prognostical factors of the surgical outcome, reasons of surgical failures and complications. In a brief chapter the importance of postsurgical rehabilitation is emphasized.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Genetic background of epilepsies]


[In this article we review epilepsies with monogenic inheritance. Most of these diseases are caused by abnormal function of ligand- and voltage gated ion channels caused by a genetic defect, therefore belonging to the channelopathies. From the inherited epilepsies the genetics of the autosomal dominant partial epilepsies is clarified the best. Mutations of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunits are found in familial nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy, while defects in the voltage gated potassium channels (KCNQ2 and KCNQ3) have been identified in benign familial neonatal convulsions. Familial temporolateral epilepsy was associated with mutations of a tumor suppressor gene. From the generalized epilepsies, the syndrome of generalized epilepsy with febrile seizures plus (GEFS+) can be caused by mutations of the sodium channel subunits and of the GABAA receptor subunits. These important results would probably lead to new findings in the genetics of the more common forms of idiopathic generalized epilepsies, which have presumed polygenic origin. Although without definite conclusions, sodium channel and GABA receptor dysfunction is presumed. The accumulated knowledge about channelopathies enables insight to the cellular mechanism of epileptogenesis as well.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Questions of epileptogenesis and prevention in symptomatic epilepsies]

NIKL János

[Symptomatic epilepsies usually report themselves after a longer period of time after brain injury, after the so-called latent period. During this period progressive functional and structural changes occur which finally cause an increased excitatory condition. The process of epileptogenesis may be examined in animal models, such as in the kindling, status epilepticus, hypoxicischaemic models. Data gained from such sources support the hypothesis that the first injury results in a lower seizure threshold, but genetical and enviromental factors also contribute to the development of epilepsy and most probably further insults may be needed. The development of epilepsy can be traced back to several reasons. In spite of this, the latent period provides opportunity for the prevention of epilepsy or for the influence of epileptogenesis in such a manner that later treatment can become more succesful. Prevention should be an aim in clinical practice, as well. Medication used presently are more like to have anticonvulsive properties and their antiepileptogenic effect is questionable. Due to this fact, development of new drugs is necessary with new theoretical background. The most important influence on the incidence of epilepsy in recent years has been provided by the improvement in neonatal care. This highlights the fact that such optimal medical care should be provided in the acute period of brain injury which can terminate or lessen the risk of epilepsy.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Psychosocial conditions of adult epileptic patients in Hungary]

RAJNA Péter, SÓLYOM András, VERES Judit

[Authors analyze the possible connections among psychosocial, more important epileptological and social conditions in the population of the Hungarian Epilepsy Database. The inclusion criteria were the presence of repeated epileptic seizures, the strict diagnosis of epilepsy and at least three registered control visits. Four hundred and fifty 30 or more years old patients fulfilled the criteria. Based on the answers to four questions in the database considering some conditions potentially modifying the way of life the patients were scored and distributed into 3 subgroups (good, average and bad) concerning their psychosocial conditions. In contrast to previous expectations they found that the type of epilepsy does not influence the attainable psychosocial conditions. Presence of generalized tonic-clonic or complex partial seizure did not exhibit influence either. Analysis of the seizure frequency showed that generalized convulsions, if occurred rarely were accompanied by good psychosocial level and if occurred frequently they were accompanied by a less acceptable level. Psychopathological symptoms independently from their nature and evidenced brain lesion as etiology also made the psychosocial conditions worse. No difference was found concerning the gender of the population. It contradicts the hypothesis that epilepsy has a greater impact on females. Psychosocial conditions are better in patients with higher education and living in pairs. Based on the study authors support the statements of the literature emphasizing that for achieving the best quality of life and psychosocial level an appropriate medical care is not enough. They need also the relative highest level of education and a stable partnership.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Antiepileptic drug treatment]


[Antiepileptic drug treatment is essential and provides excellent therapeutic effects in more than the two-third of the epileptic patients. The antiepileptic drugs influence the chronic hyperexcitability of the brain developed during the epileptogenesis. As an effect, it decreases the excitability and/or increases the inhibition of the pathological cells, which prevents the precipitation of the epileptic seizure (anticonvulsive effect). The anticonvulsive effect comes into operation by the influence of the transport of one ore more ion-channels. The anticonvulsive effect is only symptomatic and it doesn’t cure the disorder. The drug selection is based on the knowledge of the therapeutic markers and the effectiveness of the drug to be used. This can occure on the basis of the action of the drug or in syndromespecific way. The pharmacokinetic properties of the drugs determine how they can be used in the practice. The drug interactions can take place in several levels. Among them, the change of the metabolism is the most important. Acute dosedependent side effects, organ-specific chronic interactions and idiosyncratic reactions must be taken into consideration during the use of antiepileptic drugs. The patient's individual aspects must be considerably taken into account during the treatment. There are other medical areas that can benefit from the antiepileptic drugs. Among them, the most important diseases are: restless legs syndrome, neuropathic pain, trigeminal neuralgia, essential tremor, bulimia and bipolar disorders. There are other pharmacological (adrenocorticotropic hormone, immunoglobulins, neurosteroids) and dietary methods, which may be effective at certain epileptic syndromes. The principles of the pharmacotherapy have been changing continuously during the past decades and since. New drugs have been introduced into the marketing and new expectations are coming into the limelight concerning the treatment. As a consequence this will bring on the modification of antiepileptic drug therapeutic habits.]

All articles in the issue

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Clinical Neuroscience

Long-term follow-up results of concomitant chemoradiotherapy followed by adjuvant temozolomide therapy for glioblastoma multiforme patients. The importance of MRI information in survival: Single-center experience

LUKÁCS Gábor, TÓTH Zoltán, SIPOS Dávid, CSIMA Melinda, HADJIEV Janaki, BAJZIK Gábor, CSELIK Zsolt, SEMJÉN Dávid, REPA Imre, KOVÁCS Árpád

Introduction - Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common malignant primary anomaly of central nervous system. The GBM infiltrates the nearly sturctures from the initial tumor and its metastatic attribution is well known. The aim of our single-centered retrospective study was to introduce the importance of postoperative medical imaging confirmation of total tumor resection for patient with GBM combined concomitant and adjuvant chemoradiotherapy on a 10 year long patient follow up. Methods - From January 2006 to April 2015 we registered 59 patients with newly diagnosed GBM at the University of Kaposvár Health Center Institute of Diagnostic Imaging and Radiation Oncology. The histological diagnosis was confirmed by a proficient neuropathologist (World Health Organisation WHO; grade IV astrocytoma). According to histological status if the ECOG performance status of patients allowed it the mutidisciplinary oncoteam recommended adjuvant chemoradiotherapy all features strictly by Stupp protocol. (60 Gy dose on the gross tumor volume and 2-3 cm margin for the clinical target volume with parallel 75 mg/m2 TMZ. Four weeks after monotherapial phase patients had to recieve 6 cycles of TMZ first cycle with 150 mg/m2 up to 200 mg/m2). The irradiation was carried out by a conformal three dimensional planning system. Results - 59 patients with the median age of 63 (range 17-84) year. Our sample counted 34 male patients and 25 woman patients. 14 patients underwent gross total tumor resection while, 39 patients underwent partial resection and the rest from our sample 6 patients passed through biopsy. Statistical analysis showed a lengthier survival among males than females, with a median survival of 13 months for males and females, the OS of 26.209 for males, meanwhile 15.625 for females. However, the difference is not considerable (log-rank p=0.203). Our study found that the estimated survival of patients at least 50 years old is significantly shorter at a median survival of 12 months (log rank p=0.027) than that of patients below 50 years of age at a median survival of 23 months. The longest estimated median survival was calculated with patients of ECOG '0' condition (16 months). However, no significant difference was found in the estimated survival of patients of different ECOG conditions (log-rank p=0.146). Based on the extent of surgery, complete resection resulted in the longest average survival of 36.4 months, followed by 21.5 months among patients with biopsy, and 15.8 months among patients with partial resection. Different surgical procedures, however, did not result in significant differences in survival (log-rank p=0.059). The overal survival of patients who had complete resection confirmed by MRI compared with the overal survival of patients with residual tumor confirmed by MRI as well we can estimate that there is significant difference between these two groups (p=0,004). Conclusion - Despite complex and intense treatment, recurrence is inevitable and causes relatively rapid death. In our analysis complete resection, as defined from the neurosurgeon’s report and postoperative MRI, resulted in an independently significant improvement in OS. Our results are the evidences that the treatment of patients with glioblastoma multiforme in Hungary is at least on the same level as any other developed European countries.

Clinical Neuroscience

Cerebral cavernous malformation type 1 with retinal blood vessel tortuosity and KRIT1 gene mutation

KALMÁR Tibor, MARÓTI Zoltán, VADVÁRI Árpád, HALMOSI Ágnes, KÁLOVITS Ferenc, KÁLMÁN Bernadette

Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) represent a relatively rare and heterogeneous clinical entity with mutations identified in three genes. Both sporadic and familial forms have been reported. We present a young female patient with episodic paresthesia and headaches, but without acute neurological deficits. Her mother had a hemorrhaged cavernoma surgically removed 21 years ago. Cranial magnetic resonance imaging revealed multiple cavernous malformations in the size of a few millimeters and the ophthalmologic exam detected retinal blood vessel tortuosity in the proband. Targeted exome sequencing analysis identified a nonsense mutation in exon 16 of the KRIT1 gene, which resulted in a premature stop codon and a truncated protein underlying the abnormal development of cerebral and retinal blood vessels. This mutation with pathogenic significance has been reported before. Our case points to the importance of a thorough clinical and molecular work up despite the uncertain neurological complaints, since life style recommendations, imaging monitoring and genetic counseling may have major significance in the long term health of the patient.

Clinical Neuroscience

[The role of MRI in measuring the effectivity of disease modifying treatments II]

KINCSES Zsigmond Tamás, TÓTH Eszter, FRICSKA-NAGY Zsanett, FÜVESI Judit, RAJDA Cecília, BENCSIK Krisztina, VÖRÖS Erika, CSOMOR Angéla, PALKÓ András, VÉCSEI László

[The paraclinical examinations, principally the MRI have an increasing significance in the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. However, MRI markers also have a prominent role in monitoring of the disease-course and activity, and also in the planning of possible therapeutic changes. In accordance with previously published international guidelines, in this article we propose a protocol for the monitoring the treatment efficacy in multiple sclerosis. This could be the basis of a consensus based guideline to be implemented in Hungary.]

Clinical Neuroscience

The yield of electroencephalography in syncope

NALBANTOGLU Mecbure, TAN Ozturk Ozlem

Introduction - Syncope is defined as a brief transient loss of consciousness due to cerebral hypoperfusion. Although the diagnosis of syncope is based on a thorough history and examination, electroencaphalography (EEG) is also an important investigational tool in the differential diagnosis in this group of patients. In this study we aimed to identify the diagnostic value of EEG in patients with syncope. Methods - We retrospectively examined EEG recordings of 288 patients with the diagnosis of syncope referred to the Cankiri State Hospital EEG laboratory, from January 2014 to January 2016. The EEG findings were classified into 6 groups as normal, epileptiform discharges (spike and sharp waves), generalized background slowing, focal slowing, hemispherical asymmetries, and low amplitude EEG tracing. The EEGs were separated according to gender and age. Results - Total of 288 patients were included in this study, 148 were females (51.4%) and 140 (48.6%) were males. Among all the EEG reports, 203 (70.5%) were normal, 8 of them (2.8%) showed generalized background slowing and 7 (2.4%) demonstrated focal slow waves. Epileptiform discharges occured among 13 patients (4.5%). Hemispherical asymmetries were detected in 10 patients (3.5%) and low amplitude EEG tracing in 47 patients (16.3%). There was no significant difference between age groups in EEG findings (p=0.3). Also no significant difference was detected in EEG results by gender (p=0.2). Discussion - Although the diagnosis of syncope, epilepsy and non-epileptic seizures is clinical diagnosis, EEG still remains additional method

Clinical Neuroscience

[Childhood sporadic type of hemiplegic migraine with arteria cerebri media hypoperfusion]

NAGY Csaba, BAJZIK Gábor, SKOBRÁK Andrea, CSORBA Eszter, LAJTAI Anikó, BALOGH Gábor, NAGY Ferenc, VAJDA Zsolt

[Hemiplegic migraine is a rare subtype of migraine that is associated with reversible motor weakness in the aura phase. This is an uncommon form of migraine usually starting in childhood. The purpose of this case report is to highlight the differential diagnostic difficulty of the first attack. We describe a case, where the fluctuating unilateral motor weakness and aphasia suggested that the patient had ischaemic stroke. Nevertheless the brain MRI and MR angiography, the measured 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid (5-HIAA) concentration changes and the spontaneously improving clinical status proved the diagnosis of hemiplegic migraine. The MRI and MR angiography was very beneficial in establishing the correct diagnosis in this case. To distinguish between the familiar and sporadic type of hemiplegic migraine further genetic tests can be carried out.]