Resting-state functional connectivity in epilepsy: Growing relevance for clinical decision making

Joseph I. Tracy, Gaelle E. Doucet

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Purpose of review Seizures produce dysfunctional, maladaptive networks, making functional connectivity an ideal technique for identifying complex brain effects of epilepsy. We review the current status of resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) research, highlighting its potential added value to epilepsy surgery programs. Recent findings RsFC research has demonstrated that the brain impact of seizures goes beyond the epileptogenic zone, changing connectivity patterns in widespread cortical regions. There is evidence for abnormal connectivity, but the degree to which these represent adaptive or maladaptive plasticity responses is unclear. Empirical associations with cognitive performance and psychiatric symptoms have helped understand deleterious impacts of seizures outside the epileptogenic zone. Studies in the prediction of outcome suggest that there are identifiable presurgical patterns of functional connectivity associated with a greater likelihood of positive cognitive or seizure outcomes. Summary The role of rsFC remains limited in most clinical settings, but shows great promise for identifying epileptic circuits and foci, predicting outcomes following surgery, and explaining cognitive deficits and psychiatric symptoms of epilepsy. RsFC has demonstrated that even focal epilepsies constitute a network and brain systems disorder. By providing a tool to both identify and characterize the brain network impact of epileptiform activity, rsFC can make a strong contribution to presurgical algorithms in epilepsy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-165
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 7 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Clinical diagnostic
  • Epileptogenic networks
  • Resting-state functional connectivity
  • Surgical outcome
  • Temporal lobe epilepsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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