OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to compare amygdala volume in children with cryptogenic epilepsy who have complex partial seizures (CPS) with that of age- and gender-matched normal children. The relationship of amygdala volume to seizure variables and presence of psychopathology was also examined in these patients. METHODS: Twenty-eight children with cryptogenic epilepsy, all of whom had CPS, and gender-matched normal children, all aged 6-16 years, underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 1.5T. Tissue was segmented, and total brain volume and amygdala volumes obtained from manual tracings were computed. RESULTS: There were no significant differences in amygdala volume between the CPS and normal groups. Within the CPS group, the children with an affective/anxiety disorder had significantly larger left amygdala volumes, as well as greater amygdala asymmetry, compared with those with no psychopathology. Exploring the association between seizure variables and amygdala volume yielded no significant predictors. CONCLUSIONS: In pediatric CPS, left amygdala involvement may reflect effects of the neuropathology underlying comorbid affective or anxiety disorders on amygdala development rather than effects of ongoing seizures.
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