Changes in verbal and nonverbal memory following anterior temporal lobe surgery for refractory seizures: effects of sex and laterality

Epilepsy Behav. 2005 Feb;6(1):71-84. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2004.10.011.


We studied the effects on verbal and nonverbal memory of anterior temporal lobe (ATL) surgery for epilepsy in 91 patients (46 men, 45 women), all of whom had left-hemisphere dominance for speech. Patients were divided into four groups according to sex and laterality of the excision. The memory tasks were administered shortly before surgery, 6 months postoperatively, and at a 2-year follow-up. Test scores were submitted to repeated-measures analyses of variance. We found that men treated with left temporal resection declined significantly in long-delay verbal memory after surgery, whereas no clear pre- to postoperative sex differences were found with respect to other verbal memory scores. Only the results on long-delay verbal memory confirm previous findings, showing a greater vulnerability of verbal memory to left ATL surgery in men than in women. Women with left temporal excisions obtained particularly poor scores on a long-delay nonverbal memory test preoperatively, but improved their performance on this test significantly after surgery. The seemingly gradual improvement during the 2-year follow-up suggests a plastic process.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anterior Temporal Lobectomy / methods*
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / surgery*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Postoperative Period
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Verbal Learning / physiology*
  • Wechsler Scales