RHC 2013;4(1)11-28.html

Reviews in Health Care 2013; 4(1): 11-28

Disease

Systematic review

Citation classics in epilepsy

Maryann Wilson 1, Andrea Nani 1, Andrea Eugenio Cavanna 1

1 The Michael Trimble Neuropsychiatry Research Group, Department of Neuropsychiatry, BSMHFT and University of Birmingham, United Kingdom

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The impact of a scientific article is proportional to the citations it has received. In this study, we set out to identify the most cited works in epileptology in order to evaluate research trends in this field. METHODS: According to the Web of Science database, articles with more than 400 citations qualify as “citation classics”. We conducted a literature search on the ISI Web of Science bibliometric database for scientific articles relevant to epilepsy. RESULTS: We retrieved 67 highly cited articles (400 or more citations), which were published in 31 journals: 17 clinical studies, 42 laboratory studies, 5 reviews and 3 classification articles. Clinical studies consisted of epidemiological analyses (n=3), studies on the clinical phenomenology of epilepsy (n=5) – including behavioral and prognostic aspects – and articles focusing on pharmacological (n=6) and non-pharmacological (n=3) treatment. The laboratory studies dealt with genetics (n=6), animal models (n=27), and neurobiology (n=9) – including both neurophysiology and neuropathology studies. The majority (61%) of citation classics on epilepsy were published after 1986, possibly reflecting the expansion of research interest in laboratory studies driven by the development of new methodologies, specifically in the fields of genetics and animal models. Consequently, clinical studies were highly cited both before and after the mid 80s, whilst laboratory researches became widely cited after 1990. CONCLUSIONS: Our study indicates that the main drivers of scientific impact in the field of epileptology have increasingly become genetic and neurobiological studies, along with research on animal models of epilepsy. These articles are able to gain the highest numbers of citations in the time span of a few years and suggest potential directions for future research.

Keywords

Epilepsy; Bibliometrics; Citation classics; Impact

Corresponding author

Dr. Andrea Eugenio Cavanna

cavanna77@libero.it

Disclosure

The authors have no conflict of interests or financial disclosures

Introduction

The science of bibliometrics, defined as the study and analysis of citation indexes, has led to the development of various metrics to assess the directions of rapidly evolving research fields, such as basic and clinical epileptology [1]. Bibliometric analyses have taken advantage of the availability of dedicated tools, such as the Science Citation Index, which was first developed in 1962 at the Institute of Scientific Information with the purpose of maintaining a systematic ongoing measurement of the scientific impact of research articles [2].

The purpose of this study was to identify the core works in the scientific literature on epilepsy, i.e. works that have made significant contributions and are driving or have driven the research and practice in the field of epileptology. For the scope of the present study, the impact of an article was measured as the number of citations that article has received from other scientific papers (citation count). By identifying these works, it is possible to see how the field has developed, what clinical areas have been researched most, how previous and current research has shaped our understanding of epilepsy and what directions future research is likely to take.

Methods

We conducted a literature search on the ISI Web of Science bibliometric database for scientific articles relevant to epilepsy, using the keywords “epilep*” or “seizure*” in the title. The search, which was performed on January 30, 2012, generated 95,764 articles published between January 1898 and January 2012 (the asterisk was included as a wild card character). We subsequently focused our analysis to “citation classics”, which for the purpose of our study were defined as articles which received 400 or more citations [3]. This search methodology was consistent with recent works conducted in other neurological conditions (e.g. Parkinson disease [4] and Tourette syndrome [5]) and in the overall neurosurgical literature [6-8]. In the following sections, parenthetical numbers (...) refer to the rank of the relevant articles as per Table I.

Results

Sixty-seven citation classics in epilepsy were identified, spanning six decades (1946-2005). The number of citations received by the articles ranged from 402 to 3,279 (Table I).

Rank

Article

Cites

1

Racine RJ. Modification of seizure activity by electrical stimulation. 2. Motor seizure. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 1972; 32: 281-94

3,279

2

Bancaud J, Henriksen O, Rubiodonnadieu F, et al. Proposal for revised clinical and electroencephalographic classification of epileptic seizures. Epilepsia 1981; 22: 489-501

1,410

3

Morgan JI, Cohen DR, Hempstead JL, et al. Mapping patterns of c-fos expression in the central nervous system after seizure. Science 1987; 237: 192-97

1,338

4

Ben-Ari Y. Limbic seizure and brain damage produced by kainic acid: mechanisms and relevance to human temporal lobe epilepsy. Neuroscience 1985; 14: 375-403

1,249

5

Kwan P, Brodie MJ. Early identification of refractory epilepsy. N Eng J Med 2000; 342: 314-9

1,000

6

Parent JM, Yu TW, Leibowitz RT, et al. Dentate granule cell neurogenesis is increased by seizures and contributes to aberrant network reorganization in the adult rat hippocampus. J Neurosci 1997; 17: 3727-38

966

7

Nibuya M, Morinobu S, Duman RS. Regulation of BDNF and TRKB mRNA in rat brain by chronic electroconvulsive seizure and antidepressant drug treatments. J Neurosci 1995; 15: 7539-47

962

8

Shoffner JM, Lott MT, Lezza AMS, et al. Myoclonic epilepsy and ragged-red fiber disease (MERRF) is associated with a mitochondrial-DNA transfer RNALys mutation. Cell 1990; 61: 931-7

919

9

Margerison JH, Corsellis JA. Epilepsy and temporal lobes. A clinical, electroencephalographic and neuropathological study of brain in epilepsy, with particular reference to temporal lobes. Brain 1966; 89: 499-530

827

10

Mattson RH, Cramer JA, Collins JF, et al. Comparison of carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, and primidone in partial and secondarily generalized tonic clonic seizures.N Eng J Med 1985; 313: 145-51

775

11

Tanaka K, Watase K, Manabe T, et al. Epilepsy and exacerbation of brain injury in mice lacking the glutamate transporter GLT-1. Science 1997; 276: 1699-702

758

12a

Sloviter RS. Decreased hippocampal inhibition and selective loss of interneurons in experimental epilepsy. Science 1987; 235: 73-6

741

12b

Erickson JC, Clegg KE, Palmiter RD. Sensitivity to leptin and susceptibility to seizures of mice lacking neuropeptide Y. Nature 1996; 381: 415-8

741

14

Engel J. A proposed diagnostic scheme for people with epileptic seizures and with epilepsy: report of the ILAE Task Force on Classification and Terminology. Epilepsia 2001; 42: 796-803

732

15

Tecott LH, Sun LM, Akana SF, et al. Eating disorder and epilepsy in mice lacking 5-HT2C serotonin receptors. Nature 1995; 374: 542-6

727

16

Hauser WA, Kurland LT. Epidemiology of epilepsy in Rochester, Minnesota, 1935 through 1967. Epilepsia 1975; 16: 1-66

724

17

Sutula T, Cascino G, Cavazos J, et al. Mossy fiber synaptic reorganization in the epileptic human temporal-lobe. Ann Neurol 1989; 26: 321-30

717

18

Hauser WA, Annegers JF, Kurland LT. Incidence of epilepsy and unprovoked seizures in Rochester, Minnesota- 1935-1984. Epilepsia 1993; 34: 453-68

706

19

Slater E, Beard AW. Schizophrenia-like psychoses of epilepsy. 1. Psychiatric aspects. Br J Psychiatry 1963; 109: 95-112

669

20

Wiebe S, Blume WT, Girvin JP, et al. A randomized, controlled trial of surgery for temporal-lobe epilepsy. N Eng J Med 2001; 345: 311-8

664

21

Steinlein OK, Mulley JC, Propping P, et al. A missense mutation in the neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine-receptor alpha-4 subunit is associated with autosomal-dominant nocturnal frontal-lobe epilepsy. Nature Genetics 1995; 11: 201-3

622

22

Florhenr P. Psychosis and temporal lobe epilepsy – a controlled investigation. Epilepsia 1969; 10: 363-95

610

23

Lothman EW, Collins RC. Kainic acid-induced limbic seizures – metabolic, behavioral, electroencephalographic and neuropathological correlates. Brain Research 1981; 218: 299-318

597

24

Singh NA, Charlier C, Stauffer D, et al. A novel potassium channel gene, KCNQ2, is mutated in an inherited epilepsy of newborns. Nature Genetics 1998; 18: 25-9

587

25

Wallace RH, Wang DW, Singh R, et al. Febrile seizures and generalized epilepsy associated with a mutation in the Na+-channel beta 1 subunit gene SCN1B. Nature Genetics 1998; 19: 366-70

586

26

Taylor DC, Falconer MA, Bruton CJ, et al. Focal dysplasia of cerebral cortex in epilepsy. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 1971; 34: 369-87

581

27

Ben-Ari Y, Tremblay E, Riche D, et al. Electrographic, clinical and pathological alterations following systemic administration of kainic acid, bicuculline or pentetrazole-metabolic mapping using the deoxyglucose method with special reference to the pathology of epilepsy. Neuroscience 1981; 6: 1361-91

568

28

Sloviter RS. Calcium-binding protein (Calbindin-D28k) and parvalbumin immunocytochemistry-localization in the rat hippocampus with specific reference to the selective vulnerability of hippocampal-neurons to seizure activity. J Comp Neurol 1989; 280: 183-96

563

29

Bear DM, Fedio P. Quantitative-analysis of interictal behavior in temporal-lobe epilepsy. Arch Neurol 1977; 34: 454-67

561

30a

Turski WA, Cavalheiro EA, Scwarz M, et al. Limbic seizures produced by pilocarpine in rats: behavioural, electroencephalographic and neuropathological study. Behavioural Brain Research 1983; 9: 315-35

547

30b

Gall CM, Isackson PJ. Limbic seizures increase neuronal production of messenger-RNA for nerve growth-factor. Science 1989; 245: 758-61

547

32

Charlier C, Singh NA, Ryan SG, et al. A pore mutation in a novel KQT-like potassium channel gene in an idiopathic epilepsy family. Nature Genetics 1998; 18: 53-5

544

33

Gloor P, Olivier A, Quesney LF, et al. The role of the limbic system in experiential phenomena of temporal-lobe epilepsy. Ann Neurol 1982; 12: 129-44

536

34

de Lanerolle NC, Kim JH, Robbins RJ, et al. Hippocampal interneuron loss and plasticity in human temporal-lobe epilepsy. Brain Research 1989; 495: 387-95

529

35

Qian Z, Gilbert ME, Colicos MA, et al. Tissue-plasminogen activator is induced as an immediate early gene during seizure kindling and long-term potentiation. Nature 1993; 361: 453-7

525

36

Isackson PJ, Huntsman MM, Murray KD, et al. BDNF messenger-RNA expression is increased in adult-rat forebrain after limbic seizures: temporal patterns of induction distinct from NGF. Neuron 1991; 6: 937-48

521

37

Molyneux AJ, Kerr RSC, Yu LM, et al. International subarachnoid aneurysm trial (ISAT) of neurosurgical clipping versus endovascular coiling in 2143 patients with ruptured intracranial aneurysms: a randomised comparison of effects on survival, dependency, seizures, rebleeding, subgroups, and aneurysm occlusion. Lancet 2005; 366: 809-17

520

38

Goddard GV. Development of epileptic seizures through brain stimulation at low intensity. Nature 1967; 214: 1020-1

516

39

Biervert C, Schroeder BC, Kubisch C, et al.A potassium channel mutation in neonatal human epilepsy. Science 1998; 279: 403-6

514

40

Ernfors P, Bengzon J, Kokaia Z, et al. Increased levels of messenger-RNAs for neurotrophic factors in the brain during kindling epileptogenesis. Neuron 1991; 7: 165-76

496

41

Chae T, Kwon YT, Bronson R, et al. Mice lacking p35, a neuronal specific activator of Cdk5, display cortical lamination defects, seizures, and adult lethality. Neuron 1997; 18: 29-42

495

42

Zwillich CW, Sutton FD, Neff TA, et al. Theophylline-induced seizures in adults: correlation with serum concentrations. Ann Intern Med 1975; 82: 784-7

492

43

Falconer MA, Serafetinides EA, Corsellis JAN. Etiology and pathogenesis of temporal lobe epilepsy. Arch Neurol 1964; 10: 233-48

481

44a

Fletcher CF, Lutz CM, OSullivan TN, et al. Absence epilepsy in tottering mutant mice is associated with calcium channel defects. Cell 1996; 87: 607-17

480

44b

Bengzon J, Kokaia Z, Elmer E, et al. Apoptosis and proliferation of dentate gyrus neurons after single and intermittent limbic seizures. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1997; 94: 10432-7

480

46

Matsumoto H, Marsan CA. Cortical cellular phenomena in experimental epilepsy: interictal manifestations. Experimental Neurology 1964; 9: 286-304

478

47

Toman JEP, Swinyard EA, Goodman LS. Properties of maximal seizures, and their alteration by anticonvulsant drugs and other agents. J Neurophysiol 1946; 9: 231-9

470

48

Nadler JV. Kainic acid as a tool for the study of temporal-lobe epilepsy. Life Sciences 1981; 29: 2031-42

469

49

Sperk G. Kainic acid seizures in the rat. Progress of Neurobiology 1994; 42: 1-32

467

50

Babb TL, Kupfer WR, Pretorius JK, et al. Synaptic reorganization by mossy fibers in human epileptic fascia-dentata. Neuroscience 1991; 42: 351-63

465

51

Tsirka SE, Gualandris A, Amaral DG, et al. Excitotoxin-induced neuronal degeneration and seizure are mediated by tissue-plasminogen activator. Nature 1995; 377: 340-4

461

52

Sloviter RS. Epileptic brain-damage in rats induced by sustained electrical-stimulation of the perforant path. 1. Acute electro-physiological and light microscopic studies. Brain Research Bulletin 1983; 10: 675-97

457

53

Mattson RH, Cramer JA, Collins JF. A comparison of valproate with carbamazepine for the treatment of complex partial seizures and secondarily generalized tonic clonic seizures in adults. N Eng J Med 1992; 327: 765-71

451

54

Babloyantz A, Destexhe A. Low-dimensional chaos in an instance of epilepsy. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1986; 83: 3513-7

444

55a

Racine RJ. Modification of seizure activity by electrical stimulation. 1. After-discharge threshold. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 1972; 32: 269-79

436

55b

Engel J. Current concepts: surgery for seizures. N Eng J Med 1996; 334: 647-52

436

57

Brodie MJ, Richens A, Yuen AWC. Double-blinded comparison of lamotrigine and carbamazepine in newly-diagnosed epilepsy. Lancet 1995; 345: 476-9

427

58

During MJ, Spencer DD. Extracellular hippocampal glutamate and spontaneous seizure in the conscious human brain. Lancet 1993; 341: 1607-10

422

59

Sperk G, Lassmann H, Baran H, et al. Kainic acid-induced seizures: neurochemical and histopathological changes. Neuroscience 1983; 10: 1301-15

419

60

Houser CR, Miyashiro JE, Swartz BE, et al. Altered patterns of dynorphin immunoreactivity suggest mossy fiber reorganization in human hippocampal epilepsy. J Neurosci 1990; 10: 267-82

417

61

Dent CE, Richens A, Rowe DJF, et al. Osteomalacia with long-term anticonvulsant therapy in epilepsy. BMJ 1970; 4: 69-72

416

62

Mody I, Lambert JDC, Heinemann U. Low extracellular magnesium induces epileptiform activity and spreading depression in rat hippocampal slices. J Neurophysiol 1987; 57: 869-88

410

63

Woodbury LA, Davenport VD. Design and use of a new electroshock seizure apparatus, and analysis of factors altering seizure threshold and pattern. Arch Int Pharmacodyn Ther 1952; 92: 97-107

405

64a

Nelson KB, Ellenberg JH. Prognosis in children with febrile seizures. Pediatrics 1978; 61: 720-7

404

64b

Daumas-Duport C, Scheithauser BW, Chodkiewicz JP, et al. Dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumor: a surgically curable tumor of young patients with intractable partial seizures. Report of thirty-nine cases. Neurosurgery 1988; 23: 545-56

404

66

Hauser WA, Annegers JF, Kurland LT. Prevalence of epilepsy in Rochester, Minnesota 1940-1980. Epilepsia 1991; 32: 429-45

403

67

Dingledine R, McBain CJ, McNamara JO. Excitatory amino-acid receptors in epilepsy. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences 1990; 11: 334-8

402

Table I. Articles on epilepsy with more than 400 citations, ranked by number of citations received

Among the citation classics, there were 17 clinical studies, including 3 epidemiological studies, 5 studies on clinical phenomenology, 6 on pharmacological therapies, and 3 on non-pharmacological therapies. Also captured by the search were 42 laboratory studies, which included 9 articles on the neurobiology of epilepsy, 27 studies on animal models and 6 genetic studies. Finally, 5 review papers and 3 articles on the classification of epilepsy were identified (Table II).

Clinical

Laboratory

Classification

Epidemiology

Phenomenology*

Pharmacological therapy

Non-pharmacological therapy

Genetics

Animal models

Neurobiology**

Review

Journal

Total

67

3

3

5

6

3

6

27

9

5

Epilepsia

6

2

3

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

Nature

5

-

-

-

-

-

-

5

-

-

Science

5

-

-

-

-

-

1

4

-

-

N Eng J Med

5

1

-

-

2

1

-

-

-

1

Neuroscience

4

-

-

-

-

-

-

2

1

1

Nature Genet

4

-

-

-

-

-

4

-

-

-

Lancet

3

-

-

-

1

1

-

-

1

-

J Neurosci

3

-

-

-

-

-

-

2

1

-

Neuron

3

-

-

-

-

-

-

3

-

-

Cell

2

-

-

-

-

-

1

1

-

-

Brain Res

2

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

1

-

Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol

2

-

-

-

-

-

-

2

-

-

J Neurophysiol

2

-

-

-

1

-

-

1

-

-

Ann Neurol

2

-

-

1

-

-

-

-

1

-

Arch Neurol

2

-

-

1

-

-

-

-

1

-

PNAS

2

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

1

-

Pediatrics

1

-

-

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

Br J Psychiatry

1

-

-

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

J Comp Neurol

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

-

-

Ann Int Med

1

-

-

-

1

-

-

-

-

-

Behav Brain Res

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

-

-

Brain

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

-

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

-

Exp Neurol

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

-

-

Brain Res Bull

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

-

-

Prog Neurosci

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

BMJ

1

-

-

-

1

-

-

-

-

-

Neurosurgery

1

-

-

-

-

1

-

-

-

-

Trends Pharmacol Sci

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

Archives Internationales de Pharmacodynamie et de Therapie

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

-

-

Life Sciences

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

Year of publication

1946-1950

1

-

-

-

1

-

-

-

-

-

1951-1955

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

-

-

1956-1960

0

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1961-1965

3

-

-

1

-

-

-

1

1

-

1966-1970

4

-

-

1

1

-

-

1

1

-

1971-1975

5

-

1

-

1

-

-

2

1

-

1976-1980

2

-

-

2

-

-

-

-

-

-

1981-1985

10

1

-

1

1

-

-

5

-

2

1986-1990

12

-

-

-

-

1

1

5

4

1

1991-1995

14

-

2

-

2

-

1

6

2

1

1996-2000

12

1

-

-

-

-

4

6

-

1

2001-2005

3

1

-

-

-

2

-

-

-

-

Cites

401-450

14

-

1

1

2

1

-

4

3

2

451-500

14

-

-

-

3

-

-

7

2

2

501-550

10

-

-

1

-

1

2

5

1

551-600

7

-

-

1

-

-

2

3

1

-

601-650

2

-

-

1

-

-

1

-

-

-

651-700

2

-

-

1

-

1

-

-

-

-

701-750

7

1

2

-

-

-

-

3

1

-

751-800

2

-

-

-

1

-

-

1

-

-

801-900

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

-

901-1000

4

1

-

-

-

-

1

2

-

-

1001-1100

0

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1101-1200

0

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1201-1300

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

1301-1400

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

-

-

1401-1500

1

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

<1500

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

-

-

Table II. Breakdown of citation classics in epilepsy by research topics, 5-year epochs, and citation counts

* Includes behavioural aspects and prognosis

** Includes neurophysiology and neuropathology

Clinical studies

Epidemiological studies

There were three articles on epidemiological aspects of epilepsy (16, 18, 66). They were all part of the community study based in Rochester, Minnesota, USA.

Phenomenological studies

Four out of the five articles on the clinical phenomenology of epilepsy looked at behavioral aspects and psychopathology (19, 22, 29, 33), with focus on temporal lobe epilepsy. The other study explored the long-term prognosis of children with febrile seizures (64a).

Pharmacological therapy

There were six articles on medical therapies for epilepsy (10, 42, 47, 53, 57, 61). Half of them were studies comparing carbamazepine with other drugs (10, 53, 57). Of the remaining articles, one looked at the correlation between theophylline-induced seizures and serum concentration of antiepileptic drugs (42) and the other two evaluated the effects of anticonvulsant therapies (47, 61).

Non-pharmacological therapy

Among the citation classics, we identified three articles on non-pharmacological treatments for epilepsy (20, 37, 64b). One study focused on surgery for temporal-lobe epilepsy (20); one looked at the effects that neurosurgical clipping and endovascular coiling have on seizures in patients with ruptured intracranial aneurysms (37); the last one evaluated the surgical treatment of dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumors in patients with intractable partial seizures (64b).

Laboratory studies

Genetics

All six genetic studies were about the role of mutations in epilepsy (8, 21, 24, 25, 32, 39): three of these drew attention to the potassium channel gene (24, 32, 39), one was about the link between myoclonic epilepsy and ragged-red fiber disease and a mitochondrial-DNA transfer RNALys mutation (8); one identified the relationship between a missense mutation and autosomal-dominant nocturnal frontal-lobe epilepsy (21); the last one focused on the association between febrile seizures/generalized epilepsy and a genetic mutation affecting sodium channels (25).

Animal models

There were twenty-seven studies involving animal models of epilepsy. Eight of these mentioned the use of electrical stimulation (1, 6, 12a, 28, 35, 38, 52, 55a), with two exploring how seizure activity can be modified by electrical stimulation (1, 55a). Another study focused on the design and use of an electroshock apparatus, as well as factors altering seizure threshold and pattern (63). Two studies looked at the link between seizures and feeding behavior (12b, 15). There was one study that showed the relationship between absence epilepsy in mice and calcium channel defects (44a). Four studies focused on limbic seizures (30a, 30b, 36, 44b) with two evaluating the changes in messenger-RNA production (30b, 36), one about apoptosis and proliferation of dentate gyrus neurons (44b) and the other one investigating limbic seizures by using pilocarpine models (30a). There were two other studies focusing on messenger-RNA, including one on the regulation of BDNF and TRKB messenger-RNA in rat-brain (7), and one on messenger-RNA levels during kindling epileptogenesis (40). Four studies focused on chemically-inducing seizures (3, 27, 51, 59). Moreover, one study evaluated the different aspects of kainic acid-induced limbic seizures (23) and another drew attention to extracellular magnesium and its association with epileptiform activity and spreading depression in rats (62). Finally, two studies looked at epilepsy at a cortical cellular level (41, 46), and one study concentrated on epilepsy and brain injury in mice lacking a glutamate transporter (11).

Neurobiology

Nine studies investigated the neurobiological aspects of epilepsy, including both neuropathology (9, 17, 26, 34, 43, 50, 58, 60) and neurophysiology (9, 54) approaches.

Review articles

Five reviews were identified (4, 48, 49, 55b, 67), with two of these referring to both kainic acid and temporal-lobe epilepsy (4, 48). Other reviewed topics included kainic acid seizures in the rat model (49), epilepsy surgery (55b) and excitatory amino-acid receptors in epilepsy (67).

Classification articles

We found three articles on the classification of epilepsy (2, 5, 14). This includes one about the identification of refractory epilepsy (5). Of the remaining two, one evaluated a proposed diagnostic scheme for people with epilepsy (14) and the other refers to a proposal for a revised classification of epilepsy (2).

Journals and years of publication

As seen in Table III, the journals were ranked using the ISI Journal Citation Reports 2010 Journal Impact Factor (JIF) in order to explore when and where the highest cited articles on epilepsy were published, and to ascertain whether there was a link between journals and article types.

Journal

Articles

JIF (2010)

N Eng J Med

5

53.48

Nature Genet

4

36.38

Nature

5

36.10

Lancet

3

33.63

Cell

2

32.40

Science

5

31.38

Ann Intern Med

1

16.73

Neuron

3

14.03

BMJ

1

13.47

Trends Pharmacol Sci

1

11.05

Ann Neurol

2

10.75

Prog Neurobiol

1

9.97

PNAS

2

9.77

Brain

1

9.23

J Neurosci

3

7.27

Arch Neurol

2

7.11

Br J Psychiatry

1

5.95

Pediatrics

1

5.39

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry

1

4.79

Exp Neurol

1

4.44

Epilepsia

6

3.96

J Comp Neurol

1

3.77

Behav Brain Res

1

3.39

Neurosurgery

1

3.30

Neuroscience

4

3.22

J Neurophysiol

2

3.11

Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol

2

2.79

Brain Res

2

2.62

Brain Res Bull

1

2.50

Life Sciences

1

2.45

Archives Internationales de Pharmacodynamie et de Therapie

1

0.77

Table III. Journals in which citation classics on epilepsy were published, with 2010 impact factors (JIF, source: ISI Journal Citation Reports)

According to Table IV, the highest impact journals were those with a JIF > 21.95, i.e. those that were in the top 1% of a rank of 821 journals in the subject categories of Behavioral sciences, Clinical neurology, Medicine: general and internal, Medicine: research and experimental, Multidisciplinary sciences, Neurological sciences, Psychiatry and Psychology. The journals in the top 10% of this rank (JIF 5.20-21.95) were classed as high impact, whilst the journals in the top 33% (JIF 2.70-5.20) were classed as medium impact. Using this classification, we found that 24 articles appeared in the highest impact journals, 19 in the high impact journals, 19 in the medium impact journals and 5 in journals with JIF below 2.70. There was a broad range of publication years from 1946-2005, with only 21% of the articles appearing before 1976, 18% appearing from 1976 to 1985, 39% appearing from 1986 to 1995 and 22% appearing after 1996. The majority of articles (56%) were published between 1986 and 2000.

JIF < 2.70

JIF=2.70-5.20

JIF=5.21-21.95

JIF > 21.95

Total

Year of publication

Total articles

5

19

19

24

67

1946-1950

-

1

-

-

1

1951-1955

1

-

-

-

1

1956-1960

-

-

-

-

0

1961-1965

-

1

2

-

3

1966-1970

-

1

2

1

4

1971-1975

-

4

1

-

5

1976-1980

-

-

2

-

2

1981-1985

3

5

1

1

10

1986-1990

1

3

4

4

12

1991-1995

-

3

4

7

14

1996-2000

-

-

3

9

12

2001-2005

-

1

-

2

3

Type of study

Classification

-

2

-

1

3

Clinical: epidemiology

-

3

-

-

3

Clinical: phenomenology*

-

1

4

-

5

Clinical: pharmacological therapy

-

1

2

3

6

Clinical: non-pharmacological therapy

-

1

-

2

3

Lab: genetics

-

-

-

6

6

Lab: animal models

3

8

6

10

27

Lab: neurobiology**

1

2

5

1

9

Reviews

1

1

2

1

5

Cites

401-450

1

5

5

3

14

451-500

2

3

6

3

14

501-550

1

1

2

6

10

551-600

1

3

1

2

7

601-650

-

1

-

1

2

651-700

-

-

1

1

2

701-750

-

3

1

3

7

751-800

-

-

-

2

2

801-900

-

-

1

-

1

901-1000

-

-

2

2

4

1001-1100

-

-

-

-

0

1101-1200

-

-

-

-

0

1201-1300

-

1

-

-

1

1301-1400

-

-

-

1

1

1401-1500

-

1

-

-

1

>1500

-

1

-

-

1

Table IV. Year of publication, topic and number of citations of the epilepsy citation classics as related to impact of journal (2010 JIF, from ISI Citation Reports. JIF > 21.95 corresponds to top 1%, JIF 5.20-21.95 corresponds to the top 10% excluding the top 1% and JIF 2.70-5.20 corresponds to the top 33% excluding the top 10%)

* Includes behavioral aspects and prognosis

** Includes neurophysiology and neuropathology

Clinical studies

Epilepsia, the New England Journal of Medicine and Lancet accounted for 53% of all clinical studies captured by the search. It is worth noting that these three journals, together with Nature, Science, Nature Genetics, Cell, the Annals of Internal medicine and Neuron – all journals that have an impact factor greater than 14.00 – accounted for 42% of all the citations classics. Epilepsia and the New England Journal of Medicine published 41% of all clinical studies. The three articles on the epidemiological aspects of epilepsy were all published by Epilepsia. A third of the articles regarding both pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapy were published by the New England Journal of Medicine. Significantly, all the phenomenological studies appeared between 1963 and 1988; the two thirds of the articles on pharmacological therapy appeared between 1946 and 1985; whilst all the three studies captured by the search on non-pharmacological therapy (focusing on sophisticated neurosurgical techniques) appeared in journals in 1988, 2001, and 2005.

Laboratory studies

Nature Genetics, Science and Nature published a third of all laboratory studies. Nature Genetics published 67% of all genetics studies. Nature and Science published 33% of animal model studies, with 5 articles for Nature and 4 articles for Science, respectively. Papers in the Neurobiology category were equally distributed between journals and published from 1964 to 1993. All six genetics studies appeared after 1990 and, in particular, four in 1998. The largest number of articles regarding animal models were published between 1981 and 1997, specifically 10 in the 80s and 12 in the 90s, accounting for 81% of all the articles published on this topic and reflecting the surge of interest in animal models during the last two decades of the past century. We did not find, however, any citation classics in this field after 1997, even though they represent 64% of all laboratory studies.

Review articles

Neuroscience published the first most cited article among reviews and the fourth most cited article of all citation classics. The five reviews found in our search appeared from 1981 to 1996.

Classification articles

Epilepsia published two out of the three articles that were captured and the one that holds the second rank in our search. The other article one was published by the New England Journal of Medicine. Two papers appeared fairly recently, in 2000 and 2001. The most cited paper, however, was published in 1981.

Discussion

According to our study, the most highly cited articles on epilepsy dealt with animal models (electrical stimulation, chemically-induced seizures, the relationship between seizures and feeding behavior, the regulation of BDNF and TRKB messenger-RNA in the rat brain, etc.), classification of epileptic seizures and identification of refractory epilepsies, a review about limbic seizure and brain damage produced by kainic acid, genetic and neurobiological studies. As a top article in our rank we found a study using an animal model to explore how seizure activity can be modified by electrical stimulation.

Sources of the citation classics

The 67 articles captured by our search appeared in 31 different journals. Six journals published more than 4 highly cited articles each: Epilepsia (n=6), the New England Journal of Medicine (n=5), Nature (n=5), Science (n=5), Nature Genetics (n=4), Neuroscience (n=4), accounting for the 43% of all the citation classics. About half (48%) of all articles were published in journals with a JIF > 10.00; 17% in journal with a JIF between 9.97 and 5.39; 25% in journal with a JIF between 4.79 and 3.11; 10% in journal with a JIF between 2.79 and 0.77.

Among the top ten articles in our rank, two were published in the journal with the highest impact factor (JIF=53.48), one in a journal with JIF=32.40, two in a journal with JIF=31.38, one in a journal with JIF=9.23, one in a journal with JIF=7.27, one in a journal with JIF=3.96, one in a journal with JIF=3.22, and one in a journal with JIF=2.79. However, the two most cited articles were published in journals with JIF=2.79 and JIF=3.96, respectively. This shows that although the JIF is certainly an important element to consider when looking for citation classics, it may not be the most significant determinant for the number of citations an article receives. Moreover, the JIF of a journal can vary with time, so that articles published years or decades ago might have originally been associated with a different JIF.

Highlights of high impact work by publication eras

The results of our search show the temporal progression of research into epilepsy, with different areas being prominent in different eras. The majority of all citation classics (56%) were published between 1986 and 2000. The earliest article identified as a citation classic evaluated the effects of anticonvulsant drugs and was published in 1946. The most recent article appeared in 2005 and dealt with the effects of neurosurgical clipping and endovascular coiling on seizures in patients with ruptured intracranial aneurysms. The numbers of publications on clinical studies have remained relatively stable throughout the periods taken into consideration for the search. In contrast, with regard to the laboratory studies, a peak was found in genetic research during the 90s and in studies using animal models during the 80s and the 90s.

Comparison with other studies on citation classics in epilepsy

Our study on citations classics in epilepsy produced different results compared to another study recently published on the same topic [9]. The study by Ibrahim et al. [9] identified 89 articles which received 400 or more citations, 22 more articles than the 67 retrieved in our search. The majority of citations classics identified by us were also present in the study conducted by Ibrahim et al. [9]. Articles do not have, however, the same rank positions because of different results in the number of citations. In fact, in the study by Ibrahim et al. [9] most of these articles received a higher number of citations than we found. In addition, we captured 11 articles (i.e. 2, 37, 40, 42, 47, 52, 53, 61, 62, 63, 64b) that were not present in the list of citations classics obtained by Ibrahim et al. [9]. The comparison of these data is shown in Table V.

Rank

Rank Ibr

Article

Cites

Cites Ibr

1

1

Racine RJ. Modification of seizure activity by electrical stimulation.2. motor seizure. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 1972; 32: 281-94

3,279

3,749

2

Bancaud J, Henriksen O, Rubiodonnadieu F, et al. Proposal for revised clinical and electroencephalographic classification of epileptic seizures. Epilepsia 1981; 22: 489-501

1,410

3

4

Morgan JI, Cohen DR, Hempstead JL, et al. Mapping patterns of c-fos expression in the central-nervous-system after seizure. Science 1987; 237: 192-7

1,338

1,303

4

3

Ben-Ari Y. Limbic seizure and brain- damage produced by kainic acid- mechanisms and relevance to human temporal-lobe epilepsy. Neuroscience 1985; 14: 375-403

1,249

1,351

5

2

Kwan P, Brodie MJ. Early identification of refractory epilepsy. N Eng J Med 2000; 342: 314-9

1,000

1,419

6

6

Parent JM, Yu TW, Leibowitz RT, et al. Dentate granule cell neurogenesis is increased by seizures and contributes to aberrant network reorganization in the adult rat hippocampus. J Neurosci 1997; 17: 3727-38

966

1,162

7

5

Nibuya M, Morinobu S, Duman RS. Regulation of BDNF and TRKB messenger-RNA in rat-brain by chronic electroconvulsive seizure and antidepressant drug treatments.J Neurosci 1995; 15: 7539-47

962

1,193

8

9

Shoffner JM, Lott MT, Lezza AMS, et al. Myoclonic epilepsy and ragged-red fiber disease (MERRF) is associated with a mitochondrial-DNA transfer RNALys mutation. Cell 1990; 61: 931-7

919

961

9

14

Margerison JH, Corsellis JA. Epilepsy and temporal lobes. A clinical, electroencephalographic and neuropathological study of brain in epilepsy, with particular reference to temporal lobes. Brain 1966; 89: 499-530

827

822

10

15

Mattson RH, Cramer JA, Collins JF, et al. Comparison of carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, and primidone in partial and secondarily generalized tonic clonic seizures. N Eng J Med 1985; 313: 145-51

775

821

11

12

Tanaka K, Watase K, Manabe T, et al. Epilepsy and exacerbation of brain injury in mice lacking the glutamate transporter GLT-1. Science 1997; 276: 1699-702

758

848

12a

19

Sloviter RS. Decreased hippocampal inhibition and selective loss of interneurons in experimental epilepsy. Science 1987; 235: 73-6

741

729

12b

16

Erickson JC, Clegg KE, Palmiter RD. Sensitivity to leptin and susceptibility to seizures of mice lacking neuropeptide Y. Nature 1996; 381: 415-8

741

806

14

7

Engel J. A proposed diagnostic scheme for people with epileptic seizures and with epilepsy: Report of the ILAE Task Force on Classification and Terminology. Epilepsia 2001; 42: 796-803

732

1,123

15

13

Tecott LH, Sun LM, Akana SF, et al. Eating disorder and epilepsy in mice lacking 5-HT2C serotonin receptors. Nature 1995; 374: 542-6

727

827

16

11

Hauser WA, Kurland LT. Epidemiology of epilepsy in Rochester, Minnesota, 1935 through 1967. Epilepsia 1975; 16: 1-66

724

854

17

23

Sutula T, Cascino G; Cavazos J, et al. Mossy fiber synaptic reorganization in the epileptic human temporal-lobe. Ann Neurol 1989; 26: 321-30

717

708

18

8

Hauser WA, Annegers JF, Kurland LT. Incidence of epilepsy and unprovoked seizures in Rochester, Minnesota- 1935-1984. Epilepsia 1993; 34: 453-68

706

996

19

21

Slater E, Beard AW. Schizophrenia-like psychoses of epilepsy. 1. Psychiatric aspects. Br J Psychiatry 1963; 109: 95-112

669

722

20

10

Wiebe S, Blume WT, Girvin JP, et al. A randomized, controlled trial of surgery for temporal-lobe epilepsy. N Eng J Med 2001; 345: 311-8

664

911

21

20

Steinlein OK, Mulley JC, Propping P, et al. A missense mutation in the neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine-receptor alpha-4 subunit is associated with autosomal-dominant nocturnal frontal-lobe epilepsy. Nature Genetics 1995; 11: 201-3

622

724

22

25

Florhenr P. Psychosis and temporal lobe epilepsy- a controlled investigation. Epilepsia 1969; 10: 363-95

610

665

23

31b

Lothman EW, Collins RC. Kainic acid-induced limbic seizures – metabolic, behavioral, electroencephalographic and neuropathological correlates. Brain Research 1981; 218: 299-318

597

599

24

22

Singh NA, Charlier C, Stauffer D, et al. A novel potassium channel gene, KCNQ2, is mutated in an inherited epilepsy of newborns. Nature Genetics 1998; 18: 25-9

587

717

25

17

Wallace RH, Wang DW, Singh R, et al. Febrile seizures and generalized epilepsy associated with a mutation in the Na+-channel beta 1 subunit gene SCN1B. Nature Genetics 1998; 19: 366-70

586

780

26

30

Taylor DC, Falconer MA, Bruton CJ, et al. Focal dysplasia of cerebral cortex in epilepsy. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 1971; 34: 369-87

581

602

27

33a

Ben-Ari Y, Tremblay E, Riche D, et al. Electrographic, clinical and pathological alterations following systemic administration of kainic acid, bicuculline or pentetrazole- metabolic mapping using the deoxyglucose method with special reference to the pathology of epilepsy. Neuroscience 1981; 6: 1361-91

568

577

28

42c

Sloviter RS. Calcium-binding protein (Calbindin-D28k) and parvalbumin immunocytochemistry- localization in the rat hippocampus with specific reference to the selective vulnerability of hippocampal-neurons to seizure activity. J Comp Neurol 1989; 280: 183-96

563

525

29

18

Bear DM, Fedio P. Quantitative-analysis of interictal behavior in temporal-lobe epilepsy. Arch Neurol 1977; 34: 454-67

561

754

30a

28

Turski WA, Cavalheiro EA, Scwarz M, et al. Limbic seizures produced by pilocarpine in rats- behavioural, electroencephalographic and neuropathological study. Behavioural Brain Research 1983; 9: 315-35

547

610

30b

38

Gall CM, Isackson PJ. Limbic seizures increase neuronal production of messenger-RNA for nerve growth-factor. Science 1989; 245: 758-61

547

554

32

27

Charlier C, Singh NA, Ryan SG, et al. A pore mutation in a novel KQT-like potassium channel gene in an idiopathic epilepsy family. Nature Genetics 1998; 18: 53-5

544

655

33

35

Gloor P, Olivier A, Quesney LF, et al. The role of the limbic system in experiential phenomena of temporal-lobe epilepsy. Ann Neurol 1982; 12: 129-44

536

576

34

53

de Lanerolle NC, Kim JH, Robbins RJ, et al. Hippocampal interneuron loss and plasticity in human temporal-lobe epilepsy. Brain Research 1989; 495: 387-395

529

506

35

33b

Qian Z, Gilbert ME, Colicos MA, et al. Tissue-plasminogen activator is induced as an immediate early gene during seizure kindling and long-term potentiation. Nature 1993; 361: 453-7

525

577

36

50

Isackson PJ, Huntsman MM, Murray KD, et al. BDNF messenger-RNA expression is increased in adult-rat forebrain after limbic seizures- temporal patterns of induction distinct from NGF. Neuron 1991; 6: 937-48

521

519

37

Molyneux AJ, Kerr RSC, Yu LM, et al. International subarachnoid aneurysm trial (ISAT) of neurosurgical clipping versus endovascular coiling in 2143 patients with ruptured intracranial aneurysms: a randomised comparison of effects on survival, dependency, seizures, rebleeding, subgroups, and aneurysm occlusion. Lancet 2005; 366: 809-17

520

38

31a

Goddard GV. Development of epileptic seizures through brain stimulation at low intensity. Nature 1967; 214: 1020-1

516

599

39

24

Biervert C, Schroeder BC, Kubisch C, et al.A potassium channel mutation in neonatal human epilepsy. Science 1998; 279: 403-6

514

684

40

Ernfors P, Bengzon J, Kokaia Z, et al. Increased levels of messenger-RNAs for neurotrophic factors in the brain during kindling epileptogenesis. Neuron 1991; 7: 165-76

496

41

47

Chae T, Kwon YT, Bronson R, et al. Mice lacking p35, a neuronal specific activator of Cdk5, display cortical lamination defects, seizures, and adult lethality. Neuron 1997; 18: 29-42

495

523

42

Zwillich CW, Sutton FD, Neff TA, et al. Theophylline-induced seizures in adults – correlation with serum concentrations. Ann Intern Med 1975; 82: 784-7

492

43

40

Falconer MA, Serafetinides EA, Corsellis JAN. Etiology and pathogenesis of temporal lobe epilepsy. Arch Neurol 1964; 10: 233-48

481

535

44a

41

Fletcher CF, Lutz CM, OSullivan TN, et al. Absence epilepsy in tottering mutant mice is associated with calcium channel defects. Cell 1996; 87: 607-17

480

534

44b

37

Bengzon J, Kokaia Z, Elmer E, et al. Apoptosis and proliferation of dentate gyrus neurons after single and intermittent limbic seizures. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1997; 94: 10432-7

480

558

46

75

Matsumoto H, Marsan CA. Cortical cellular phenomena in experimental epilepsy- interictal manifestations. Experimental Neurology 1964; 9: 286-304

478

439

47

Toman JEP, Swinyard EA, Goodman LS. Properties of maximal seizures, and their alteration by anticonvulsant drugs and other agents. J Neurophysiol 1946; 9: 231-9

470

48

71

Nadler JV. Kainic acid as a tool for the study of temporal-lobe epilepsy. Life Sciences 1981; 29: 2031-42

469

452

49

45b

Sperk G. Kainic acid seizures in the rat. Progress of Neurobiology 1994; 42: 1-32

467

524

50

55

Babb TL, Kupfer WR, Pretorius JK, et al. Synaptic reorganization by mossy fibers in human epileptic fascia-dentata. Neuroscience 1991; 42: 351-63

465

499

51

48a

Tsirka SE, Gualandris A, Amaral DG, et al. Excitotoxin-induced neuronal degeneration and seizure are mediated by tissue-plasminogen activator. Nature 1995; 377: 340-4

461

520

52

Sloviter RS. Epileptic brain-damage in rats induced by sustained electrical-stimulation of the perforant path.1. acute electro-physiological and light microscopic studies. Brain Research Bulletin 1983; 10: 675-97

457

53

Mattson RH, Cramer JA, Collins JF. A comparison of valproate with carbamazepine for the treatment of complex partial seizures and secondarily generalized tonic clonic seizures in adults. N Eng J Med 1992; 327: 765-71

451

54

26

Babloyantz A, Destexhe A. Low-dimensional chaos in an instance of epilepsy. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1986; 83: 3513-7

444

660

55a

70

Racine RJ. Modification of seizure activity by electrical stimulation. 1. After-discharge threshold. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 1972; 32: 269-79

436

456

55b

39

Engel J. Current concepts – surgery for seizures. N Eng J Med 1996; 334: 647-52

436

538

57

60c

Brodie MJ, Richens A, Yuen AWC. Double-blinded comparison of lamotrigine and carbamazepine in newly-diagnosed epilepsy. Lancet 1995; 345: 476-9

427

483

58

60b

During MJ, Spencer DD. Extracellular hippocampal glutamate and spontaneous seizure in the conscious human brain. Lancet 1993; 341: 1607-10

422

483

59

87

Sperk G, Lassmann H, Baran H, et al. Kainic acid-induced seizures- neurochemical and histopathological changes. Neuroscience 1983; 10: 1301-15

419

411

60

85

Houser CR, Miyashiro JE, Swartz BE, et al. Altered patterns of dynorphin immunoreactivity suggest mossy fiber reorganization in human hippocampal epilepsy. J Neurosci 1990; 10: 267-82

417

415

61

Dent CE, Richens A, Rowe DJF, et al. Osteomalacia with long-term anticonvulsant therapy in epilepsy. BMJ 1970; 4: 69-72

416

62

Mody I, Lambert JDC, Heinemann U. Low extracellular magnesium induces epileptiform activity and spreading depression in rat hippocampal slices. J Neurophysiol 1987; 57: 869-88

410

63

Woodbury LA, Davenport VD. Design and use of a new electroshock seizure apparatus, and analysis of factors altering seizure threshold and pattern. Arch Int Pharmacodyn Ther 1952; 92: 97-107

405

64a

57

Nelson KB, Ellenberg JH. Prognosis in children with febrile seizures. Pediatrics 1978; 61: 720-7

404

493

64b

Daumasduport C, Scheithauser BW, Chodkiewicz JP, et al. Dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumor- a surgically curable tumor of young patients with intractable partial seizures- report of 39 cases. Neurosurgery 1988; 23: 545-56

404

66

56

Hauser WA, Annegers JF, Kurland LT. Prevalence of epilepsy in Rochester, Minnesota 1940-1980. Epilepsia 1991; 32: 429-45

403

497

67

83a

Dingledine R, McBain CJ, McNamara JO. Excitatory amino-acid receptors in epilepsy. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences 1990; 11: 334-8

402

421

Table V. Articles on epilepsy with more than 400 citations, ranked by number of citations received – Comparison with Ibrahim et al, 2012 data (Ibr) [9]

The differences shown in Table V – especially the discrepancies in the citations number – cannot be explained by the different time of search. In fact, in the study by Ibrahim et al. [9] the search engine was accessed in November 2011, whilst in our study it was accessed in January 2012. Both searches were, therefore, carried out around the same time. Furthermore, having accessed the search engine after Ibrahim et al. [9] we should expect a higher number of citations for the same studies, but, as shown in Table V, this was not the case. In contrast, we were able to capture less citations for most articles (e.g. 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12b, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, etc.) than Ibrahim et al. [9] did.

The differences in the two studies are likely to result from the use of two different search engines. In fact, our search was conducted on the ISI Web of Science bibliometric database, whereas Ibrahim et al. [9] used Harzing’s Publish or Perish, an internet-based search engine which employs Google Scholar data to calculate its statistics. In a large-scale comparison between different search engines (i.e. Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar) it was found that Google Scholar can produce more than twice as many citations as Web of Science [10]. On the other hand, Web of Science includes exclusively citations to journal articles published in ISI listed journal. Consequently, Google Scholar appears to be a more powerful engine to retrieve citations of books, book chapters, dissertations, theses, reports, conference papers, and articles published in non-ISI journal. On the contrary, Google Scholar can find less than half of the citations of the Web of Science for specific articles mostly published in scientific disciplines [11]. Moreover, Web of Science performs significantly better than Google Scholar in covering citations to articles published before 1990 [12]. In effect, 8 out of the 11 articles which we found to have more than 400 citations but were not included in citations classics by Ibrahim et al. [9] were published before 1990.

Limitations

We used a simple and reproducible methodology, following previous work on citation classics in Parkinson’s disease [4] and Tourette syndrome [5]. We restricted our search strategy to articles that have “epilep*” or “seizure*” in the title, thus potentially leading to omission of articles without either of these terms in the title, but still relevant to epilepsy. On the other hand, topic-based searches were less likely to give articles that were directly related to epilepsy as opposed to a title-based search.

Conclusions

Using a simple but systematic literature search methodology, we identified 67 articles on different aspects of epilepsy, each with at least 400 citations. These citation classics have been published in 31 scientific journals over a time span of five decades. The classification and evaluation of these articles have yielded insights into the past, present and possibly future directions of research into epilepsy. So far, the dynamic rank of the citation classics has been dominated by clinical and laboratory studies, with recent emphasis on the genetics and animal models of epilepsy. The relatively high rate of citations these articles have received in the span of a small number of years suggests that in the years to come the scientific literature on epilepsy will focus on new insights into the pathophysiology of this condition.

The review in brief

Aim

To identify works that have made significant contributions and are driving or have driven the research and practice in the field of epileptology

Type of review

Systematic

Search of the literature

We conducted a literature search on the ISI Web of Science bibliometric database for scientific articles relevant to epilepsy, using the keywords “epilep*” or “seizure*” in the title

Conclusions

We identified 67 articles on different aspects of epilepsy, each with at least 400 citations, published in 31 scientific journals over a time span of five decades. The classification and evaluation of these articles have yielded insights into the past, present and possibly future directions of research into epilepsy

Limitations

We restricted our search strategy to articles that have “epilep*” or “seizure*” in the title, thus potentially leading to omission of articles without either of these terms in the title, but still relevant to epilepsy

References

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