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Woorim Jeong, Hyeongrae Lee, June Sic Kim and Chun Kee Chung

OBJECTIVE

How the brain supports intermediate-term preservation of memory in patients who have undergone unilateral medial temporal lobe resection (MTLR) has not yet been demonstrated. To understand the neural basis of episodic memory in the intermediate term after surgery for temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), the authors investigated the relationship between the activation of the hippocampus (HIP) during successful memory encoding and individual memory capacity in patients who had undergone MTLR. They also compared hippocampal activation with other parameters, including structural volumes of the HIP, duration of illness, and age at seizure onset.

METHODS

Thirty-five adult patients who had undergone unilateral MTLR at least 1 year before recruiting and who had a favorable seizure outcome were enrolled (17 left MTLR, 18 right MTLR; mean follow-up 6.31 ± 2.72 years). All patients underwent a standardized neuropsychological examination of memory function and functional MRI scanning with a memory-encoding paradigm of words and figures. Activations of the HIP during successful memory encoding were calculated and compared with standard neuropsychological memory scores, hippocampal volumes, and other clinical variables.

RESULTS

Greater activation in the HIP contralateral to the side of the resection was related to higher postoperative memory scores and greater postoperative memory improvement than the preoperative baseline in both patient groups. Specifically, postoperative verbal memory performance was positively correlated with contralateral right hippocampal activation during word encoding in the left-sided surgery group. In contrast, postoperative visual memory performance was positively correlated with contralateral left hippocampal activation during figure encoding in the right-sided surgery group. Activation of the ipsilateral remnant HIP was not correlated with any memory scores or volumes of the HIP; however, it had a negative correlation with the seizure-onset age and positive correlation with the duration of illness in both patient groups.

CONCLUSIONS

For the first time, a neural basis that supports effective intermediate-term episodic memory after unilateral MTLR has been characterized. The results provide evidence that engagement of the HIP contralateral rather than ipsilateral to the side of resection is responsible for effective memory function in the intermediate term (> 1 year) after surgery in patients who have undergone left MTLR and right MTLR. Engagement of the material-specific contralesional HIP, verbal memory in the left-sided surgery group, and visual memory in the right-sided surgery group were observed.

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Dahye Kim, June Sic Kim, Woorim Jeong, Min-Sup Shin and Chun Kee Chung

OBJECTIVE

Mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) surgery is associated with a risk of memory decline after surgery, but the effect of the extent and locus of temporal resection on postoperative memory function are controversial. The authors’ aim in this study was to confirm if selective resection is effective in preserving memory function and identify critical areas for specific memory decline after temporal resection.

METHODS

In this single-center retrospective study, the authors investigated data from patients who underwent unilateral MTLE surgery between 2005 and 2015. Data from 74 MTLE patients (60.8% of whom were female; mean [SD] age at surgery 32 years [8.91 years] and duration of epilepsy 16 years [9.65 years]) with histologically proven hippocampal sclerosis were included. Forty-two patients underwent left-sided surgery. The resection area was manually delineated on each patient’s postoperative T1-weighted images. Mapping was performed to see if the resected group, compared with the nonresected group, had worse postoperative memory in various memory domains, including verbal item, verbal associative, and figural memory.

RESULTS

Overall, 95.9% had a favorable epilepsy outcome. In verbal item memory, resection of the left lateral temporal area was related to postoperative decline in immediate and delayed recall scores of word lists. In verbal associative memory, resection of the anterior part of the left hippocampus, left parahippocampal area, and left lateral temporal area was related to postoperative decline in immediate recall scores of word pairs. Resection of the posterior part of the left hippocampus, left parahippocampal area, and left lateral temporal area was related to delayed recall scores of the same task. Similarly, in the figural memory, postoperative decline of immediate recall scores was associated with the resection of the anterior part of the right hippocampus, amygdala, parahippocampal area, and superior temporal area, and decline of delayed recall scores was related to resection of the posterior part of the right hippocampus and parahippocampal area.

CONCLUSIONS

Using voxel-based analysis, which accounts for the individual differences in the resection, the authors found a critical region for postoperative memory decline that is not revealed in the region-of-interest or groupwise comparison. Particularly, resection of the hippocampus was related to associative memory. In both verbal and visual memory, resection of the anterior part of the hippocampus was associated with immediate recall, and resection of the posterior part of the hippocampus was associated with delayed recall. Therefore, the authors’ results suggest that selective resection may be effective in preserving postoperative memory decline.