Episodic and semantic autobiographical memory in temporal lobe epilepsy

Epilepsy Res Treat. 2014;2014:157452. doi: 10.1155/2014/157452. Epub 2014 Dec 8.

Abstract

Autobiographical memory (AM) is understood as the retrieval of personal experiences that occurred in specific time and space. To date, there is no consensus on the role of medial temporal lobe structures in AM. Therefore, we investigated AM in medial temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) patients. Twenty TLE patients candidates for surgical treatment, 10 right (RTLE) and 10 left (LTLE), and 20 healthy controls were examined with a version of the Autobiographical Interview adapted to Spanish language. Episodic and semantic AM were analyzed during five life periods through two conditions: recall and specific probe. AM scores were compared with clinical and cognitive data. TLE patients showed lower performance in episodic AM than healthy controls, being significantly worst in RTLE group and after specific probe. In relation to semantic AM, LTLE retrieved higher amount of total semantic details compared to controls during recall, but not after specific probe. No significant differences were found between RTLE and LTLE, but a trend towards poorer performance in RTLE group was found. TLE patients obtained lower scores for adolescence period memories after specific probe. Our findings support the idea that the right hippocampus would play a more important role in episodic retrieval than the left, regardless of a temporal gradient.