This study is designed to use positron emission tomography to measure brain energy use.
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a technique used to investigate the functional
activity of the brain. The PET technique allows doctors to study the normal processes of
the brain (central nervous system) of normal individuals and patients with neurologic
illnesses without physical / structural damage to the brain.
When a region of the brain is active, it uses more fuel in the form of oxygen and sugar
(glucose). As the brain uses more fuel it produces more waste products, carbon dioxide and
water. Blood carries fuel to the brain and waste products away from the brain. As brain
activity increases blood flow to and from the area of activity increases also.
Researchers can label a sugar with a small radioactive molecule called FDG
(fluorodeoxyglucose). As areas of the brain use more sugar the PET scan will detect the FDG
and show the areas of the brain that are active. By using this technique researchers hope
to answer the following questions;
4. Are changes in brain energy use (metabolism) present early in the course of epilepsy
5. Do changes in brain metabolism match the severity of patient's seizures
6. Do changes in metabolism occur over time or in response to drug therapy
We propose to study children with recent onset partial epilepsy, cryptogenic infantile
spasms, and idiopathic Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome with serial FDG-PET to elucidate the natural
history and evolution of metabolic abnormalities associated with such epilepsies. The
severity of the seizure disorder, and cognitive impairment, when present, will be correlated
with the presence and extent of focal and global cerebral metabolic abnormalities.
Patients with partial seizures, infantile spasms and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome will be
Evidence of a structural lesion as cause for epilepsy.
Degenerative or metabolic disease.
Inability to comply with the protocol.