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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 734893, 12 pages
Clinical Study

Altered Functional Connectivity within and between Brain Modules in Absence Epilepsy: A Resting-State Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study

1Department of Functional Neurosurgery, Xuanwu Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100053, China
2State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science, Institute of Biophysics, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, 15 Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China
3University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, China
4Key Laboratory for NeuroInformation of Ministry of Education, School of Life Science and Technology, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 610054, China

Received 28 April 2013; Revised 25 August 2013; Accepted 25 August 2013

Academic Editor: Andrei Surguchov

Copyright © 2013 Cui-Ping Xu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Functional connectivity has been correlated with a patient’s level of consciousness and has been found to be altered in several neuropsychiatric disorders. Absence epilepsy patients, who experience a loss of consciousness, are assumed to suffer from alterations in thalamocortical networks; however, previous studies have not explored the changes at a functional module level. We used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine the alteration in functional connectivity that occurs in absence epilepsy patients. By parcellating the brain into 90 brain regions/nodes, we uncovered an altered functional connectivity within and between functional modules. Some brain regions had a greater number of altered connections and therefore behaved as key nodes in the changed network pattern; these regions included the superior frontal gyrus, the amygdala, and the putamen. In particular, the superior frontal gyrus demonstrated both an increased value of connections with other nodes of the frontal default mode network and a decreased value of connections with the limbic system. This divergence is positively correlated with epilepsy duration. These findings provide a new perspective and shed light on how functional connectivity and the balance of within/between module connections may contribute to both the state of consciousness and the development of absence epilepsy.