Purpose 7 T (7T) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) facilitates the visualization of the brain with resolution and contrast beyond what is available at conventional clinical field strengths, enabling improved detection and quantification of small structural features such as perivascular spaces (PVSs). The distribution of PVSs, detected in vivo at 7T, may act as a biomarker for the effects of epilepsy. In this work, we systematically quantify the PVSs in the brains of epilepsy patients and compare them to healthy controls. Methods T2-weighted turbo spin echo images were obtained at 7T on 21 epilepsy patients and 17 healthy controls. For all subjects, PVSs were manually marked on Osirix image analysis software. Marked PVSs with diameter ≥ 0.5 mm were then mapped by hemisphere and lobe. The asymmetry index (AI) was calculated for each region and the maximum asymmetry index (|AImax|) was reported for each subject. The asymmetry in epilepsy subjects was compared to that of controls, and the region with highest asymmetry was compared to the suspected seizure onset zone. Results There was a significant difference between the |AImax| in epilepsy subjects and in controls (p = 0.016). In 72% of patients, the region or lobe of the brain showing maximum PVS asymmetry was the same as the region containing the suspected seizure onset zone. Conclusion These findings suggest that epilepsy may be associated with significantly asymmetric distribution of PVSs in the brain. Furthermore, the region of maximal asymmetry of the PVSs may help provide localization or confirmation of the seizure onset zone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-18
Number of pages8
JournalSeizure : the journal of the British Epilepsy Association
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • 7 Tesla
  • Focal epilepsy
  • MRI
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Perivascular space
  • T2TSE
  • Ultra-high field
  • Virchow Robin space


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