Visual and auditory naming in patients with left or bilateral temporal lobe epilepsy

Epilepsy Res. 2003 Jun-Jul;55(1-2):29-37. doi: 10.1016/s0920-1211(03)00110-4.


Impairment on visual naming tests is relatively common among temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) patients. Recent reports suggested that the ability to name objects on the basis of their descriptions is an even more sensitive and perhaps more ecologically valid measure of naming problems among left hemisphere TLE patients. To further explore the nature of dysnomia in TLE, the current study assessed a group of patients with either left or bilateral TLE (n=16) and a group of healthy controls (n=11) on computerized measures of naming to description or auditory naming (AN) and visual naming (VN). Both speed and accuracy scores on AN distinguished patients from controls better than VN scores. There was a trend for AN speed, but not other naming test variables, to be associated with self-reported word finding problems. AN speed and accuracy, but not VN scores, correlated significantly with a broad range of other cognitive test scores. In summary, AN speed and accuracy are sensitive indexes of cognitive dysfunction in TLE patients. AN may be an appropriate analogue of the word finding demands of conversational speech because of its multiple neuropsychological demands. These results provide further evidence of the potential value of AN assessment in TLE patients. Further study of the cognitive processes required during AN, its relation to word finding problems in discourse, and the effect of anterior temporal lobectomy on this ability is warranted.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anomia / pathology
  • Anomia / psychology
  • Auditory Perception / physiology
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / pathology*
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Visual Perception / physiology