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Le Bonheur neuroscientist to present research at AES

Published On 11/02/2018

Le Bonheur neuroscientist Abbas Babajani-Feremi, PhD will present his research using a novel presurgical language mapping method to predict postoperative language deficits Monday, December 3rd at 5:00 p.m. at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Epilepsy Society (AES). His research explores various neuroimaging techniques including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) and compares how each technique predicts postoperative language deficits.     

“The aim of this study was to compare the predictive power of DWI, fMRI and MEG to determine postoperative language outcome,” said Babajani-Feremi. “Results of this study could be utilized by physicians to calculate the language outcomes of different resection plans prior to surgery, and select the optimal surgical plan by accurately weighing the risk and benefits of each plan.”

Babajani-Feremi will present the results from 11 pediatric patients who underwent epilepsy surgery. All patients underwent presurgical language mapping using DWI, fMRI and MEG. Patients also received pre- and six-month post-operative neuropsychological evaluation of language using the Boston Naming Test (BNT).

Nine patients had some degree of postoperative language deficit. As predicted, patients with greater language deficit had more resected language areas, as identified through presurgical language mapping using fMRI and MEG. They also had a larger ratio of resected fiber tracts of the language network.

The study also compared the prediction error of the three methods and found that the error of DWI mapping was less than MEG but larger than fMRI, although there was no significant difference between each. However, a multimodal model using all three methods (i.e. DWI, fMRI and MEG) had a significantly smaller margin of prediction error than the unimodal models.

Babajani-Feremi concluded that the use of multiple presurgical language mapping modalities should be used prior to epilepsy surgery as it leads to a safer surgery for the patient.  “The results of the study showed that it is highly desirable to have additional presurgical language mapping methods,” said Babajani-Feremi. “A multimodal language mapping approach based on DWI, fMRI and MEG can provide an accurate and reliable prediction for postoperative language outcome.”

Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital has the unique ability to utilize state-of-the-art equipment, like its brand new MEG, for presurgical functional mapping in children undergoing epilepsy or tumor surgery. “While there are several MEG systems in the U.S., not all have been actively used for presurgical functional mapping,” said Babajani-Feremi. “Our team of physicians and researchers utilize these groundbreaking imaging techniques in treatment of children with epilepsy.”