Epidemic models characterize seizure propagation and the effects of epilepsy surgery in individualized brain networks based on MEG and invasive EEG recordings

Ana P. Millán*, Elisabeth C.W. van Straaten, Cornelis J. Stam, Ida A. Nissen, Sander Idema, Johannes C. Baayen, Piet Van Mieghem, Arjan Hillebrand

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
38 Downloads (Pure)


Epilepsy surgery is the treatment of choice for drug-resistant epilepsy patients. However, seizure-freedom is currently achieved in only 2/3 of the patients after surgery. In this study we have developed an individualized computational model based on MEG brain networks to explore seizure propagation and the efficacy of different virtual resections. Eventually, the goal is to obtain individualized models to optimize resection strategy and outcome. We have modelled seizure propagation as an epidemic process using the susceptible-infected (SI) model on individual brain networks derived from presurgical MEG. We included 10 patients who had received epilepsy surgery and for whom the surgery outcome at least one year after surgery was known. The model parameters were tuned in in order to reproduce the patient-specific seizure propagation patterns as recorded with invasive EEG. We defined a personalized search algorithm that combined structural and dynamical information to find resections that maximally decreased seizure propagation for a given resection size. The optimal resection for each patient was defined as the smallest resection leading to at least a 90% reduction in seizure propagation. The individualized model reproduced the basic aspects of seizure propagation for 9 out of 10 patients when using the resection area as the origin of epidemic spreading, and for 10 out of 10 patients with an alternative definition of the seed region. We found that, for 7 patients, the optimal resection was smaller than the resection area, and for 4 patients we also found that a resection smaller than the resection area could lead to a 100% decrease in propagation. Moreover, for two cases these alternative resections included nodes outside the resection area. Epidemic spreading models fitted with patient specific data can capture the fundamental aspects of clinically observed seizure propagation, and can be used to test virtual resections in silico. Combined with optimization algorithms, smaller or alternative resection strategies, that are individually targeted for each patient, can be determined with the ultimate goal to improve surgery outcome. MEG-based networks can provide a good approximation of structural connectivity for computational models of seizure propagation, and facilitate their clinical use.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4086
Number of pages20
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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