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Learning to see the invisible: A data-driven approach to finding the underlying patterns of abnormality in visually normal brain magnetic resonance images in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Oscar F. Bennett, Baris Kanber, Chandrashekar Hoskote, M. Jorge Cardoso, Sebastien Ourselin, John S. Duncan, Gavin P. Winston

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2499-2507
Number of pages9
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

King's Authors


Objective: To find the covert patterns of abnormality in patients with unilateral temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) and visually normal brain magnetic resonance images (MRI-negative), comparing them to those with visible abnormalities (MRI-positive). Methods: We used multimodal brain MRI from patients with unilateral TLE and employed contemporary machine learning methods to predict the known laterality of seizure onset in 104 subjects (82 MRI-positive, 22 MRI-negative). A visualization approach entitled "Importance Maps" was developed to highlight image features predictive of seizure laterality in both the MRI-positive and MRI-negative cases. Results: Seizure laterality could be predicted with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.981 (95% confidence interval [CI] =0.974-0.989) in MRI-positive and 0.842 (95% CI = 0.736-0.949) in MRI-negative cases. The known image features arising from the hippocampus were the leading predictors of seizure laterality in the MRI-positive cases, whereas widespread temporal lobe abnormalities were revealed in the MRI-negative cases. Significance: Covert abnormalities not discerned on visual reading were detected in MRI-negative TLE, with a spatial pattern involving the whole temporal lobe, rather than just the hippocampus. This suggests that MRI-negative TLE may be associated with subtle but widespread temporal lobe abnormalities. These abnormalities merit close inspection and postacquisition processing if there is no overt lesion.

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