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Richard Leblanc, Ernst Meyer, Robert Zatorre, Denise Klein and Alan Evans

Functional brain imaging is poised to become a standard diagnostic tool. The authors review their experience using functional positron emission tomography (fPET) in patients with cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).

Twelve patients, three males and nine females aged 16 to 30 years, 11 with a cerebral AVM and one with a cavernous angioma, of which five were located in the central area and seven in a speech region, underwent fPET and three-dimensional magnetic resonance imaging. These studies were coregistered in stereotactic space and correlated to Brodmann's areas that were identified from the atlas of Talairach and Tournoux. Vibrotactile and/or motor stimulation of the contralateral hand were used to identify the central region in patients whose AVM resided within, or close to, the motor strip, and language tasks specifically designed to activate visual, auditory, expressive, or semantic language were used in patients whose AVM resided within, or close to, Broca's or Wernicke's areas.

Somatosensory and motor activation reliably identified the central region in all cases as validated by identification of Brodmann's areas and by intraoperative cortical mapping, which was performed with the patient under local anesthesia. Similarly, language tasks accurately lateralized major language function to one hemisphere concordantly with neuropsychological assessment, including dichotic listening and intracarotid Amytal tests, and localized language areas appropriately as verified by stereotactic coordinates.

Functional cerebral imaging is feasible in patients with structural brain lesions. It is a reliable method to identify the relationship of a cerebral AVM to the central region. The determination of a similar relationship to language areas is dependent on the development and further validation of language-based tasks designed to activate visual, auditory, expressive, and semantic aspects of language specific to particular sites within the anterior and posterior speech regions.

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Sophie Colnat-Coulbois, Kelvin Mok, Denise Klein, Sidonie Pénicaud, Taner Tanriverdi and André Olivier

Object

The aim of this study was to evaluate, using diffusion tensor tractography, the white matter fibers crossing the hippocampus and the amygdala, and to perform a volumetric analysis and an anatomical study of the connections of these 2 structures. As a second step, the authors studied the white matter tracts crossing a virtual volume of resection corresponding to a selective amygdalohippocampectomy.

Methods

Twenty healthy right-handed individuals underwent 3-T MR imaging. Volumetric regions of interest were manually created to delineate the amygdala, the hippocampus, and the volume of resection. White matter fiber tracts were parcellated using the fiber assignment for continuous tracking tractography algorithm. All fibers were registered with the anatomical volumes.

Results

In all participants, the authors identified fibers following the hippocampus toward the fornix, the splenium of the corpus callosum, and the dorsal hippocampal commissure. With respect to the fibers crossing the amygdala, the authors identified the stria terminalis and the uncinate fasciculus. The virtual resection disrupted part of the fornix, fibers connecting the 2 hippocampi, and fibers joining the orbitofrontal cortex. The approach created a theoretical frontotemporal disconnection and also interrupted fibers joining the temporal pole and the occipital area.

Conclusions

This diffusion tensor tractography study allowed for good visualization of some of the connections of the amygdala and hippocampus. The authors observed that the virtual selective amygdalohippocampectomy disconnected a large number of fibers connecting frontal, temporal, and occipital areas.

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Editorial

Diffusion tensor tractography and epilepsy

Fredric B. Meyer