Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 17612579
Neuropsychologia 2007 Sep;45(12):2850-62
Surgical treatment appears to improve the cognitive prognosis in children undergoing surgery for temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). The beneficial effects of surgery on memory functions, particularly on material-specific memory, are more difficult to assess because of potentially interacting factors such as age range, intellectual level, left-handedness, type of surgery and seizure outcome. This study investigated memory functions in 20 right-handed children who had left or right-temporal lobe surgery – including hippocampectomy – and became seizure-free. The neuropsychological evaluation included tests measuring verbally and visually mediated episodic memory, everyday memory as well as attention/working memory and language/semantic memory. We also assessed the relationships between age of seizure onset, general cognitive ability and memory functions. Children with TLE showed poor memory efficiency before surgery that tended to improve about 1 year after surgery. We found a material-specific memory effect, especially after surgery-9 (out of 12) children with left TLE had worse verbal memory results while 5 (out of 8) with right TLE had worse visual memory results. Post-operatively, most children had poor everyday memory performance on the Rivermead Behavioural Memory Test. No significant relationship was observed between episodic memory scores and age of epilepsy onset but children with early onset remained with lower Performance IQ values, Rey’s figure copy scores and naming performances after surgery. Surgery significantly improved all the attention/working memory scores, some verbal episodic memory tasks and naming test performances. A different pattern of episodic and semantic memory limitations related to left or right TLE was observed.