Cortical thickness in default mode network hubs correlates with clinical features of dissociative seizures

Lada Zelinski, Ibai Diez, David L. Perez, Sonja A. Kotz, Jörg Wellmer, Uwe Schlegel, Stoyan Popkirov, Johannes Jungilligens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Web of Science)


BACKGROUND: Dissociative seizures (DS) are a common subtype of functional neurological disorder (FND) with an incompletely understood pathophysiology. Here, gray matter variations and their relationship to clinical features were investigated.

METHODS: Forty-eight patients with DS without neurological comorbidities and 43 matched clinical control patients with syncope with structural brain MRIs were identified retrospectively. FreeSurfer-based cortical thickness and FSL FIRST-based subcortical volumes were used for quantitative analyses, and all findings were age and sex adjusted, and corrected for multiple comparisons.

RESULTS: Groups were not statistically different in cortical thickness or subcortical volumes. For patients with DS, illness duration was inversely correlated with cortical thickness of left-sided anterior and posterior cortical midline structures (perigenual/dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, superior parietal cortex, precuneus), and clusters at the left temporoparietal junction (supramarginal gyrus, postcentral gyrus, superior temporal gyrus), left postcentral gyrus, and right pericalcarine cortex. Dissociative seizure duration was inversely correlated with cortical thickness in the left perigenual anterior cingulate cortex, superior/middle frontal gyri, precentral gyrus and lateral occipital cortex, along with the right isthmus-cingulate and posterior-cingulate, middle temporal gyrus, and precuneus. Seizure frequency did not show any significant correlations.

CONCLUSIONS: In patients with DS, illness duration inversely correlated with cortical thickness of left-sided default mode network cortical hubs, while seizure duration correlated with left frontopolar and right posteromedial areas, among others. Etiological factors contributing to neuroanatomical variations in areas related to self-referential processing in patients with DS require more research inquiry.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108605
Number of pages4
JournalEpilepsy & Behavior
Early online date10 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • Cortical thickness
  • Default mode network
  • Dissociative seizures
  • Functional neurological disorder
  • MRI

Cite this