Atypical language representation in epilepsy: implications for injury-induced reorganization of brain function

Epilepsy Behav. 2005 Jun;6(4):473-87. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2005.03.012.


This review addresses language function and reorganization associated with various forms of epilepsy. Longstanding epilepsy, particularly types with onset early in life, may be associated with changes in the representation of language function in the brain. As a result of this reorganization, language function may be relatively spared despite injury to areas of the brain that normally subserve these functions. We examine the changes seen in language function in two types of epilepsy: hemispheric epilepsy of childhood and focal epilepsies. Findings from behavioral studies, intracarotid amytal testing, intraoperative cortical testing, and more recent functional imaging studies are reviewed. Studying changes in the representation of language function seen in some forms of epilepsy provides information about brain plasticity with implications for other neurologic diseases, as well as for the neuroscientific understanding of how and when functional reorganization may occur.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology*
  • Epilepsy / classification
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Language*
  • Review Literature as Topic