Gender, Memory, and Hippocampal Volumes: Relationships in Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

Epilepsy Behav. 2000 Apr;1(2):112-119. doi: 10.1006/ebeh.2000.0051.


Previous research has suggested bilateral hippocampal support for verbal memory in women with early left-hemisphere injury and that women experience better verbal memory outcome following anterior temporal lobectomy (ATL). The present study investigated two issues: (1) Do women have better verbal memory outcome following ATL compared with men? (2) Are verbal memory abilities differentially supported by the right and left hippocampus in males and females? Verbal memory performance [Wechsler Memory Scale: Logical Memory (LM) savings score] was assessed in 70 patients who underwent ATL. MRI volumetric measurements of the left and right hippocampus were performed. No LM savings score difference was found between groups preoperatively although a statistically significant gender effect (P < 0.04) was found for postoperative LM savings scores. Females displayed better postoperative memory performance, regardless of side of surgery. Preoperative verbal memory performance was not associated with right or left hippocampal volumes in either left or right ATL females, although the right hippocampus was positively associated with memory performance for left ATL males. Hippocampal volumes were not associated with postoperative LM savings scores for any group. Results suggest that prose recall was only modestly influenced by gender and that bilateral hippocampal support for prose recall was not present in our female patients.