Magnetoencephalography (MEG) has been typically used to localize epileptic activity by modeling interictal activity as equivalent current dipoles (ECDs). Synthetic aperture magnetometry (SAM) is a recently developed adaptive spatial filtering algorithm for MEG that provides some advantages over the ECD approach. The SAM-kurtosis algorithm (also known as SAM[g2]) additionally provides automated temporal detection of spike sources by using excess kurtosis value (steepness of epileptic spike on virtual sensors). To evaluate the efficacy of the SAM(g2) method, the authors applied it to readings obtained in children with intractable epilepsy secondary to tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), and compared them to localizations obtained with ECDs.
The authors studied 13 children with TSC (7 girls) whose ages ranged from 13 months to 16.3 years (mean 7.3 years). Video electroencephalography, MR imaging, and MEG studies were analyzed. A single ECD model was applied to localize ECD clusters. The SAM(g2) value was calculated at each SAM(g2) virtual voxel in the patient's MR imaging–defined brain volume. The authors defined the epileptic voxels of SAM(g2) (evSAM[g2]) as those with local peak kurtosis values higher than half of the maximum. A clustering of ECDs had to contain ≥ 6 ECDs within 1 cm of each other, and a grouping of evSAM(g2)s had to contain ≥ 3 evSAM(g2)s within 1 cm of each other. The authors then compared both ECD clusters and evSAM(g2) groups with the resection area and correlated these data with seizure outcome.
Seizures started when patients were between 6 weeks and 8 years of age (median 6 months), and became intractable secondary to multiple tubers in all cases. Ictal onset on scalp video electroencephalography was lateralized in 8 patients (62%). The MEG studies showed multiple ECD clusters in 7 patients (54%). The SAM(g2) method showed multiple groups of epileptic voxels in 8 patients (62%). Colocalization of grouped evSAM(g2) with ECD clusters ranged from 20 to 100%, with a mean of 82%. Eight patients underwent resection of single (1 patient) and multiple (7 patients) lobes, with 6 patients achieving freedom from seizures. Of 8 patients who underwent surgery, in 7 the resection area covered ECD clusters and grouped evSAM(g2)s. In the remaining patient the resection area partially included the ECD cluster and grouped evSAM(g2)s. Six of the 7 patients became seizure free.
The combination of SAM(g2) and ECD analyses succeeded in localizing the complex epileptic zones in children with TSC who had intractable epilepsy secondary to multiple cortical tubers. For the subset of children with TSC who present with early-onset and nonlateralized seizures, MEG studies in which SAM(g2) and ECD are used might identify suitable candidates for resection to control seizures.
Abbreviations used in this paper: AED = antiepileptic drug; ECD = equivalent current dipole; EEG = electroencephalography; evSAM(g2) = epileptic voxel of synthetic aperture magnetometry–kurtosis; MEG = magnetoencephalography; SDM = single-dipole modeling; TSC = tuberous sclerosis complex.
Address correspondence to: Hiroshi Otsubo, M.D., Division of Neurology, The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 1X8. email:
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