(HealthDay News) – Childhood-onset temporal lobe epilepsy is associated with neuroanatomic abnormalities, although age-related brain changes are largely comparable for those with epilepsy and for controls.

Kevin Dabbs, of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, and colleagues analyzed differences in brain structure in 55 participants with chronic temporal lobe epilepsy of childhood/adolescent-onset and 53 healthy controls, aged 14–60 years. Measures of lobar thickness, area, and volume as well as volumes of diverse subcortical structures and cerebellum were obtained from brain magnetic resonance imaging studies.

The researchers found that participants with chronic lobe temporal epilepsy had extensive anatomic abnormalities involving distributed subcortical structures; cerebellar gray and white matter; total cerebral gray and white matter; and measures of cortical gray matter thickness, area, or volume in temporal and extratemporal lobes. For participants with epilepsy and for controls, increasing chronologic age correlated with progressive changes in diverse cortical, subcortical, and cerebellar regions. In participants with epilepsy, age-accelerated changes were seen in selected areas (third and lateral ventricles), with patterns of age-related change across other regions mainly comparable to controls.

“Extensive cortical, subcortical, and cerebellar abnormalities are present in participants with mean chronic childhood/adolescent-onset temporal lobe epilepsy, implicating a significant neurodevelopmental impact on brain structure,” the authors write. “These cumulative structural abnormalities appear to represent a significant anatomic burden for persons with epilepsy, the consequences of which remain to be determined as they progress into elder years.”

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