Cognitive Processing Impacts High Frequency Intracranial EEG Activity of Human Hippocampus in Patients With Pharmacoresistant Focal Epilepsy

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The electrophysiological EEG features such as high frequency oscillations, spikes and functional connectivity are often used for delineation of epileptogenic tissue and study of the normal function of the brain. The epileptogenic activity is also known to be suppressed by cognitive processing. However, differences between epileptic and healthy brain behavior during rest and task were not studied in detail. In this study we investigate the impact of cognitive processing on epileptogenic and non-epileptogenic hippocampus and the intracranial EEG features representing the underlying electrophysiological processes. We investigated intracranial EEG in 24 epileptic and 24 non-epileptic hippocampi in patients with intractable focal epilepsy during a resting state period and during performance of various cognitive tasks. We evaluated the behavior of features derived from high frequency oscillations, interictal epileptiform discharges and functional connectivity and their changes in relation to cognitive processing. Subsequently, we performed an analysis whether cognitive processing can contribute to classification of epileptic and non-epileptic hippocampus using a machine learning approach. The results show that cognitive processing suppresses epileptogenic activity in epileptic hippocampus while it causes a shift toward higher frequencies in non-epileptic hippocampus. Statistical analysis reveals significantly different electrophysiological reactions of epileptic and non-epileptic hippocampus during cognitive processing, which can be measured by high frequency oscillations, interictal epileptiform discharges and functional connectivity. The calculated features showed high classification potential for epileptic hippocampus (AUC = 0.93). In conclusion, the differences between epileptic and non-epileptic hippocampus during cognitive processing bring new insight in delineation between pathological and physiological processes. Analysis of computed iEEG features in rest and task condition can improve the functional mapping during pre-surgical evaluation and provide additional guidance for distinguishing between epileptic and non-epileptic structure which is absolutely crucial for achieving the best possible outcome with as little side effects as possible.

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