Cognitive impairment in epilepsy: the role of network abnormalities

Epileptic Disord. 2015 Jun;17(2):101-16. doi: 10.1684/epd.2015.0739.


The challenges to individuals with epilepsy extend far beyond the seizures. Co-morbidities in epilepsy are very common and are often more problematic to individuals than the seizures themselves. In this review, the pathophysiological mechanisms of cognitive impairment are discussed. While aetiology of the epilepsy has a significant influence on cognition, there is increasing evidence that prolonged or recurrent seizures can cause or exacerbate cognitive impairment. Alterations in signalling pathways and neuronal network function play a major role in both the pathophysiology of epilepsy and the epilepsy comorbidities. However, the biological underpinnings of cognitive impairment can be distinct from the pathophysiological processes that cause seizures.

Keywords: accelerated forgetting; cognition; memory; oscillation; place cells; rate coding; reactivation; replay; temporal coding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Waves / physiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Epilepsy / complications
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Nerve Net / physiopathology*