COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Functional MRI predicts memory performance after right mesiotemporal epilepsy surgery

Jozsef Janszky, Hennric Jokeit, Konstantina Kontopoulou, Markus Mertens, Alois Ebner, Bernd Pohlmann-Eden, Friedrich G Woermann
Epilepsia 2005, 46 (2): 244-50
15679505

PURPOSE: Anterior temporal lobe resection (ATR) is a treatment option in drug-resistant epilepsy. An important risk of ATR is loss of memory because mesiotemporal structures contribute substantially to memory function. We investigated whether memory-activated functional MRI (fMRI) can predict postoperative memory loss after anterior temporal lobectomy in right-sided medial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE).

METHODS: We included 16 patients (10 women) aged 16-54 years. The mean age at epilepsy onset was 12.5 years (range, 1-26 years). The patients' mean Wechsler IQ score was 95.2 (range, 62-125). The activation condition of fMRI consisted of retrieval from long-term memory induced by self-paced performance of an imaginative walk. All but one patient had left-sided speech dominance according to speech-activated fMRI. Outside the scanner, we evaluated the pre- and postoperative visual memory retention by using Rey Visual Design Learning Test.

RESULTS: We found a correlation between the preoperative asymmetry index of memory-fMRI and the change between pre- and postsurgical measures of memory retention. Reduced activation of the mesiotemporal region ipsilateral to the epileptogenic region correlated with a favorable memory outcome after right-sided ATR.

CONCLUSIONS: In light of the postoperative results, the theoretical implication of our study is that fMRI based on a simple introspective retrieval task measures memory functions. The main clinical implication of our study is that memory-fMRI might replace the invasive Wada test in MTLE by using a simple fMRI paradigm. Predictive power, however, will be studied in larger patient samples. Other studies are required for left-sided MTLE and neocortical epilepsies to assess the clinical usefulness of memory-fMRI.

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