Date of Award

January 2012

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)



First Advisor

Hal Blumenfeld

Subject Area(s)



Childhood absence epilepsy is characterized by a distinct 3-4 Hz spike and wave discharge seen on EEG that is usually associated with a brief loss of consciousness. It is a general form of epilepsy believed to affect the entire brain. We studied children with childhood absence epilepsy with simultaneous fMRI/EEG while they were doing a behavioral test, either continuous performance task (CPT), or repetitive tapping task (RTT). We were interested in the effect seizures would have on their performance on the CPT and RTT task, an attention and motor task respectively. We found that children would be affected earlier or even before seizure onset during the CPT task, while they would be affected later on in the seizure during the RTT task. There was also worse interictal performance in runs where a seizure was recorded. When correlating this with the imaging we found there to be greater power in the frontal leads of the EEG when a child was unable to perform during a seizure, and there was decreased signal in the frontal lobe with fMRI in similarly impaired performance during seizure. This leads us to believe that the frontal lobes, through corticothalamic networks, are more greatly affected during seizure with increased impairment.