Cortical tuber count: A biomarker indicating neurologic severity of tuberous sclerosis complex

Michael Goodman, Steven H. Lamm, Arnold Engel, Charles W. Shepherd, O. Wayne Houser, Manuel R. Gomez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The relationship between the number of cortical tubers observed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and the severity of cerebral dysfunction of tuberous sclerosis patients has been examined in a meta-analysis of the published literature. The literature review has identified five independent studies for examining the association. These studies consistently reveal that the cortical tuber count detected on MRI scans is increased among those with more severe cerebral disease. Severity of the cerebral dysfunction is measured by the seizure status and its control and by the developmental status and the level of mental retardation. Meta-analysis demonstrates that within a study population, the MRI-detected cortical tuber count is six times more likely to be above the median count for tuberous sclerosis patients with severe cerebral dysfunction (poor seizure control or moderate-severe retardation or both) than more mildly affected tuberous sclerosis patients. Similarly, across studies, moderately to severely affected patients are five times more likely to have greater than seven MRI-detected cortical tubers than those more mildly affected. These associations are both statistically significant and strong. The cortical tuber count is a biomarker that reasonably predicts the severity of cerebral dysfunction of tuberous sclerosis. Cortical tubers of tuberous sclerosis form in the early gestational period. The embryologic disruption determining the clinical severity of the cortical dysfunction of tuberous sclerosis is set in the early gestational period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-90
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Child Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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