Verbal learning differences in epileptic patients with left and right temporal lobe foci--a pharmacologically induced phenomenon?

Acta Neurol Scand. 1993 Jan;87(1):1-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0404.1993.tb04066.x.


A total of 27 patients with medically intractable complex partial seizures has been investigated for effects of anticonvulsant drugs on mental abilities, particularly on verbal memory performance. Fourteen patients with right (RTLE) and 13 with left (LTLE) temporal lobe epilepsy have been tested with a word list learning paradigm under the conditions of full and reduced anticonvulsant medication. Memory performance has significantly improved with drug reduction, however only for the LTLE group. In addition, significant group differences for verbal memory between LTLE and RTLE subjects under full medication have completely disappeared with drug reduction. Finally this investigation demonstrates, that very specific and circumscribed steps of verbal memory processing, particularly retrieval abilities after interference, are affected by anticonvulsants. These findings underline the importance of pharmacological effects on cognition and suggest to reevaluate their relevance compared to other contributing factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anticonvulsants / pharmacology*
  • Attention / drug effects
  • Attention / physiology
  • Child
  • Cognition / drug effects
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Epilepsy, Complex Partial / drug therapy
  • Epilepsy, Complex Partial / physiopathology*
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / drug therapy
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Memory / physiology
  • Mental Recall / drug effects
  • Mental Recall / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Verbal Learning / drug effects*
  • Verbal Learning / physiology


  • Anticonvulsants