Current and Emerging Potential of Magnetoencephalography in the Detection and Localization of High-Frequency Oscillations in Epilepsy


Eleonora Tamilia, Joseph R Madsen, Patricia Ellen Grant, Phillip L Pearl, and Christos Papadelis. 2017. “Current and Emerging Potential of Magnetoencephalography in the Detection and Localization of High-Frequency Oscillations in Epilepsy.” Front Neurol, 8, Pp. 14.


Up to one-third of patients with epilepsy are medically intractable and need resective surgery. To be successful, epilepsy surgery requires a comprehensive preoperative evaluation to define the epileptogenic zone (EZ), the brain area that should be resected to achieve seizure freedom. Due to lack of tools and methods that measure the EZ directly, this area is defined indirectly based on concordant data from a multitude of presurgical non-invasive tests and intracranial recordings. However, the results of these tests are often insufficiently concordant or inconclusive. Thus, the presurgical evaluation of surgical candidates is frequently challenging or unsuccessful. To improve the efficacy of the surgical treatment, there is an overriding need for reliable biomarkers that can delineate the EZ. High-frequency oscillations (HFOs) have emerged over the last decade as new potential biomarkers for the delineation of the EZ. Multiple studies have shown that HFOs are spatially associated with the EZ. Despite the encouraging findings, there are still significant challenges for the translation of HFOs as epileptogenic biomarkers to the clinical practice. One of the major barriers is the difficulty to detect and localize them with non-invasive techniques, such as magnetoencephalography (MEG) or scalp electroencephalography (EEG). Although most literature has studied HFOs using invasive recordings, recent studies have reported the detection and localization of HFOs using MEG or scalp EEG. MEG seems to be particularly advantageous compared to scalp EEG due to its inherent advantages of being less affected by skull conductivity and less susceptible to contamination from muscular activity. The detection and localization of HFOs with MEG would largely expand the clinical utility of these new promising biomarkers to an earlier stage in the diagnostic process and to a wider range of patients with epilepsy. Here, we conduct a thorough critical review of the recent MEG literature that investigates HFOs in patients with epilepsy, summarizing the different methodological approaches and the main findings. Our goal is to highlight the emerging potential of MEG in the non-invasive detection and localization of HFOs for the presurgical evaluation of patients with medically refractory epilepsy (MRE).