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Brain. 2000 Aug;123 ( Pt 8):1722-32.

Episodic memory in left temporal lobe epilepsy: a functional MRI study.

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  • 1Unité d'Epileptologie, Clinique Neurologique Paul Castaigne, CNRS UPR640, Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France.


Left medial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) is associated with verbal memory impairment usually related to hippocampal damage. We used functional MRI (fMRI) to investigate the patterns of functional activity in healthy volunteers and MTLE patients engaged in verbal episodic memory tasks to look for evidence of a reallocation of verbal memory in epileptic patients. fMRI data were collected from seven MTLE patients with left-sided hippocampal sclerosis and 10 healthy right-handed control subjects on a 3T scanner. Subjects were instructed to learn a list of 17 words (encoding) and then to recall them (retrieval) on successive trials. Healthy volunteers and patients both exhibited bilateral activation (right higher than left) of the parahippocampal gyrus during the retrieval. This effect was more marked in the control subjects. In contrast to the control subjects, patients exhibited consistent and extensive left prefrontal activations in all the memory tasks. These findings show that verbal memory tasks did not involve the same functional patterns in patients and healthy volunteers. This may be interpreted as a dysfunctional response due to the epilepsy and left hippocampal sclerosis, and could reflect the early onset and progressive course of the disease.

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