Epilepsy is associated with thickness and volume differences in the grey matter of several brain regions, according to new research. The study, “Structural brain abnormalities in the common epilepsies,” conducted by the ENIGMA-Epilepsy Consortium, is the largest-ever neuroimaging study of people with epilepsy.
Reduced volume and thickness were associated with longer duration of epilepsy. Notably, people with epilepsy exhibited lower volume in the right thalamus — a region which relays sensory and motor signals, and has previously only been associated with certain epilepsies — and reduced thickness in the motor cortex, which controls the body’s movement.
These patterns were even present among people with idiopathic generalized epilepsies, a type of epilepsy characterized by a lack of any noticeable changes in the brain, such that typically an experienced neuroradiologist would not be able to see anything unusual in their brain scans.