Memory and Language Outcomes After Seizure Surgery in Adults with Mesial Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

What are the risks of seizure surgery? What side effects might someone experience after surgery? These frequently asked questions help people with epilepsy determine whether seizure surgery is an appropriate treatment option for them. Before surgery, patients undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which shows the shape or structure of the brain, but not how specific brain areas are working. Information on how the brain is functioning is key to knowing what areas to avoid and how likely surgery is to be successful.

Dr. Mary Pat McAndrews and her team at Toronto Western Hospital are running a research study using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) - a type of MRI brain scan that shows active brain areas - together with electroencephalography (EEG) brain activity recordings. FMRI and EEG are both done while patients are at rest and also while they are doing specific language and memory tasks, providing key insights into how memory and language areas are organized within the brain. Based on this research, Dr. McAndrews and her team have found that the connections within the hippocampus (a deep structure in the temporal lobe that is crucial for memory) can predict the degree of memory loss after its surgical removal in people with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy.

Ongoing work will determine whether EEG, which provides information about the timing of different brain processes, can help predict surgery outcomes. Dr. McAndrews’ team is also working on new ways to measure the connectedness of groups of brain cells, known as networks. The hope is that these advanced brain imaging techniques will help improve surgery outcomes and enable patients to make an informed decision about seizure surgery.

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Status: Recruiting

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