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Epilepsy Behav. 2002 Apr;3(2):158-164.

Ipsilateral Reorganization of Language in Early-Onset Left Temporal Lobe Epilepsy.


Purpose. Decline in confrontation naming ability occurs in a subset of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) patients following left (dominant) anterior temporal lobectomy (ATL). Patients with late age of onset of seizures are most vulnerable to such decline. In addition, object names typically acquired later in language development are the words most likely to be inaccessible after ATL. Early-onset left TLE patients may be at lower risk for post-ATL dysnomia either because they have a limited preoperative lexicon that does not include most late-age-of-acquistion names or they undergo early ipsilateral language reorganization, which results in a lexicon similar to that of late-onset TLE patients but offers protection from post-ATL naming decline.Methods. Sixty-five left hemisphere speech dominant left TLE patients who had undergone ATL were assessed pre- and postoperatively on the Boston Naming Test (BNT).Results. The early- and late-onset groups performed similarly across three BNT age-of-acquisition categories at the preoperative assessment. Words acquired relatively later in life were most likely to become inaccessible postoperatively for both groups, but the early-onset patients showed significantly less overall postoperative decline in naming ability compared with the late-onset group.Conclusions. The more stable pre- to postoperative naming performance exhibited by early-onset patients cannot be attributed to lack of acquisition of the words shown to be most vulnerable to postoperative decline (i.e., late-age-of-acquisition words). Their object naming stability suggests that early-onset left TLE patients undergo intrahemispheric reorganization of language early in life that provides protective benefits.

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