Discipline: Technology and Engineering
Subcategory: Biomedical Engineering
Janerra Allen - University of Wisconsin-Madison
Co-Author(s): Elizabeth Felton, Veena Nair, and Vivek Prabhakaran, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
Objectives: The objective of this project was to evaluate the effectiveness of task-based fMRI testing with subjects involved in the Epilepsy Connectome Project.
Introduction: Epilepsy is a series of seizures caused by excessive and abnormal nerve cell activity in the brain. Some causes of epilepsy include brain injury, stroke, brain tumors, brain infections, birth defects and genetic causes . According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 2.9 million people in the United States have active epilepsy. The most common form of this disorder is temporal lobe epilepsy Temporal lobe epilepsy is characterized as recurrent, unprovoked epileptic seizures that originate in the temporal lobe of the brain . The temporal lobe is responsible for memory, language, intellectual and emotional functions . Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is the focus of this study.
Methods: We studied 20 healthy controls and 10 TLE patients who underwent noninvasive brain imaging methods such functional MRI (fMRI). fMRI is helpful in understanding how communication between brain areas change as a result of epilepsy and seizures by studying and assessing some of the major domains of the neural system. These systems include: visual and motor systems; working memory/cognitive control systems; language processing (semantic); social cognition; and emotion processing . The subjects (both epilepsy patients and healthy controls) that are recruited for the study are between the ages of 18-60 and have IQ levels above 70.
Results: For our study we recruited 10 TLE patients and 20 healthy controls. During the tones and animals’ tasks, patients performed less accurately with slower response times. The same also occurred during the story and math tasks. During the tones and animals’ tasks, the number of hits versus the number of false alarms were recorded for each subject. It was noted that the healthy controls had little to no false alarms during the tones tasks, whereas during the animals’ tasks, every subject recorded had false alarms. One of the subject’s scores was not taken into account because they did not complete the tasks.
Conclusions: Based on these performance results, it was concluded that patients experienced some difficulty during testing which could have been attributed to the loud scanner noise which made it hard listening to the tasks, difficulty understanding instructions or retaining, and/or feeling tired/fatigue or discomfort due to long testing procedures. Moving forward, it is recommended for future procedure to repeat tasks and instructions if necessary, explain instructions in a simpler fashion, and/or shorten testing sessions to lower tiredness and fatigue.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): National Institute of Health (NIH); National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
Faculty Advisor: Elizabeth Felton and Veena Nair, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: I was responsible for performing mock scans, administering E-Prime tasks during fMRI testing, and preprocessing data acquired from fMRI testing.