Cortical activation in patients with functional hemispherectomy
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Functional hemispherectomy, a safe and effective therapeutical procedure in medically intractable epilepsy, offers the chance to investigate a strictly unilateral cortical activation in ipsilateral limb movement. We assessed the pattern of cortical activation in a group of patients following functional hemispherectomy. We measured regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) in 6 patients postoperatively and 6 normal subjects with positron emission tomography using 15[O]H2O as a tracer. Brain activation was achieved by passive elbow movements of the affected arm. Analysis of group results and between-group comparisons were performed with statistical parametric mapping, (SPM96). In normal subjects brain activation was found contralaterally in the cranial sensorimotor cortex and the supplementary motor area and ipsilaterally in the inferior parietal cortex. In patients significant rCBF increases were found in the inferior parietal cortex, caudal sensorimotor cortex and the supplementary motor area ipsilaterally. The activation was weaker than in normal subjects. Compared with normal subjects patients showed additional activation in the premotor cortex, caudal sensorimotor cortex and the inferior parietal cortex of the remaining hemisphere. Less activation compared with normal subjects was found in the cranial sensorimotor cortex and the supplementary motor area. A functional network connecting the inferior parietal cortex, premotor cortex and the supplementary motor area as well as the existence of ipsilateral projections originating from these regions may explain why these areas are predominantly involved in reorganization confined to a single hemisphere.
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