A comprehensive neuropsychological profile of women with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures

Epilepsy Behav. 2011 Jan;20(1):24-8. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2010.10.004. Epub 2010 Nov 13.


The purpose of this study was to compare the neuropsychological profile of women with VEEG-confirmed diagnoses of psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) with that of an age- and education-matched group of women with left temporal lobe epilepsy (LTLE). Results indicate that in a relatively homogenous PNES sample, no severe neurocognitive impairments were present, further supporting a psychologically versus neurologically driven pathology of PNES. In comparison to age-stratified normative data, the PNES group demonstrated only a modest deficiency across neuropsychological domains and a relative area of weakness in attention and working memory, and generally outperformed their counterparts with LTLE. Although the attentional deficits in the PNES group may have been influenced by their elevated levels of emotional distress, symptoms of depression and anxiety were significant and common in both patients with PNES and those with LTLE, and therefore, the utility of psychological factors in discriminating these groups is limited. The present findings warrant the use of longitudinal research with patients with PNES to identify changes in the presentation of this condition as well as its subsequent neurocognitive and emotional impairments.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attention*
  • Cognition*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Memory*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / psychology*
  • Seizures / etiology
  • Seizures / psychology*
  • Self Report