Are frontal and temporal lobe epilepsy dissociable in their memory functioning?

Michelle Y. Kibby, Morris J. Cohen, Lisa Stanford, Yong D. Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


There is controversy in the literature as to how dissociable frontal lobe epilepsy (FLE) and temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) are in terms of memory deficits. Some researchers have demonstrated that FLE is associated with greater executive dysfunction including working memory, whereas TLE is associated with greater memory impairment. Others have found the two groups to be comparable in memory functioning. Hence, we examined this question in children with FLE and TLE versus typically developing controls. We found most of the expected effects when the groups with focal onset epilepsy were compared to controls. Specifically, children with left TLE performed worse on verbal short-term memory/learning and long-term memory measures. In contrast, children with right TLE exhibited a more global pattern of difficulty on short-term memory/learning measures but performed worse than controls on long-term memory for faces. Children with FLE performed worse than controls on verbal working memory. Nevertheless, laterality effects were mild, as children with right and left TLE did not differ significantly from each other. Further, children with FLE did not differ from those with TLE on most measures except delayed facial recognition, where children with right TLE performed worse. In addition, attention problems and poor behavioral regulation were related to encoding problems in both the total epilepsy sample and in children with TLE specifically. Hence, our findings overall are consistent with prior studies indicating that children with TLE and FLE are commensurate in most aspects of memory impairment when compared to each other, likely related to rapid propagation between the frontal and temporal lobes, as would be expected with an excitatory lesion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106487
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
StatePublished - Oct 2019


  • Children
  • Children's Memory Scale
  • Frontal lobe epilepsy
  • Learning and memory
  • Temporal lobe epilepsy
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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