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Epilepsy Behav. 2011 Jan;20(1):64-7. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2010.10.019. Epub 2010 Dec 3.

Socioeconomic status, cognition, and hippocampal sclerosis.

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Department of Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy, Institute of Neurology UCL, Queen Square, London, UK.



Poorer surgical outcomes in patients with low socioeconomic status have previously been reported, but the mechanisms underlying this pattern are unknown. Lower socioeconomic status may be a proxy marker for the limited economic opportunities associated with compromised cognitive function. The aim of this study was to examine the preoperative neuropsychological characteristics of patients with unilateral hippocampal sclerosis (HS) and their relationship to socioeconomic status.


Two hundred ninety-two patients with medically intractable temporal lobe epilepsy and unilateral HS completed tests of memory and intellectual function prior to surgery. One hundred thirty-one had right HS (RHS), and 161 had left HS (LHS). The socioeconomic status of each participant was determined via the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) associated with their postcode.


The IMD was not associated with age at the time of assessment, age at onset of epilepsy, or duration of active epilepsy. The RHS and LHS groups did not differ on the IMD. The IMD was negatively correlated with all neuropsychological test scores in the LHS group. In the RHS group, the IMD was not significantly correlated with any of the neuropsychological measures. There were no significant correlations in the RHS group. Regression analyses suggested that IMD score explained 3% of variance in the measures of intellect, but 8% of the variance in verbal learning in the LHS group. The IMD explained 1% or less of the variance in neuropsychological scores in the RHS group. Controlling for overall level of intellectual function, the IMD score explained a small but significant proportion of the variance in verbal learning in the LHS group and visual learning for the RHS group.


Our findings suggest that patients living in an area with a high IMD enter surgery with greater focal deficits associated with their epilepsy and more widespread cognitive deficits if they have LHS. Further work is needed to establish the direction of the relationship between low socioeconomic status and the neurocognitive sequelae of epilepsy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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