Neurodevelopmental origins of self-limiting rolandic epilepsy: Systematic review of MR imaging studies

Stuart D.W. Smith, Anna B. Smith, Mark P. Richardson, Deb K. Pal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Recent neuroimaging studies have revealed differences in cortical and white matter brain structure in children with self-limiting rolandic epilepsy (RE). Despite this, reproducibility of the findings has been difficult, and there is no consensus about where and when structural differences are most apparent. We performed a systematic review of quantitative neuroimaging studies in children with RE to explore these questions. Methods: Using PRISMA guidelines, we used a multilayered search strategy to identify neuroimaging studies in RE. Publications were included if they were quantitative and derived from controlled group studies and passed a quality assessment. Findings of the studies were presented and stratified by duration of epilepsy and age of participants. Results: We identified six gray matter studies and five white matter studies. Consistent findings were found inside and outside the central sulcus, predominantly within the bilateral frontal and parietal lobes, striatal structures, such as the putamen and white matter, mainly involving the left superior longitudinal fasciculus and connections between the left pre- and postcentral gyrus. Stratification of the T1 studies by age found that cortical thickness differences varied between the under and over 10 year olds. Furthermore, the longer the duration of epilepsy, the less likely differences were detected. In white matter studies, there was a reduction in differences with increased age and duration of epilepsy. Significance: These findings would suggest that the development of regions of the cortex in children with RE is abnormal. These regions are more widespread than the suspected seizure onset zone. Moreover, the findings would suggest that these differences are evidence of neurodevelopmental delay rather than apparent “damage” from the epilepsy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-322
Number of pages13
JournalEpilepsia Open
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


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