Narrative and procedural discourse in temporal lobe epilepsy

J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2003 Jul;9(5):733-9. doi: 10.1017/S1355617703950065.


It is well established that some individuals with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) demonstrate language deficits at the single word level. However, discourse production rarely has been examined quantitatively within this group. This study compared adult TLE patients with an early seizure onset (< or = age 14 years, n = 27) to a control group (n = 28) on narrative and procedural discourse tasks. As a group, the TLE patients performed normally on the procedural discourse task, but differed significantly from the controls on several narrative discourse variables. At the individual level, 30% of the TLE patients versus 4% of the controls demonstrated impaired discourse ability (p and 0.01). Within this early onset TLE group, discourse performance was not associated with demographic or seizure history variables. Considering the cognitive domain, discourse performance correlated significantly with working memory. In summary, mild discourse dysfunction was present in a significant minority of early onset TLE patients, but this deficit was not closely associated with other language measures. Discourse ability and its neuropsychological, neuroanatomical and conversational speech correlates deserve further study in TLE patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language*
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Speech*
  • Wechsler Scales