Evidence for degraded low frequency verbal concepts in left resected temporal lobe epilepsy patients

Maya Visser, C Forn, Matthew A Lambon Ralph, Paul Hoffman, A Gomez Ibanez, A Sanjuan-Tomas, P Rosell Negre, V Villanueva, C Avila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

According to a large neuropsychological and neuroimaging literature, the bilateral anterior temporal lobe (ATL) is a core region for semantic processing. It seems therefore surprising that semantic memory appears to be preserved in temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) patients with unilateral ATL resection. However, recent work suggests that the bilateral semantic system is relatively robust against unilateral damage and semantic impairments under these circumstances only become apparent with low frequency specific concepts. In addition, neuroimaging studies have shown that the function of the left and right ATLs differ and therefore left or right ATL resection should lead to a different pattern of impairment. The current study investigated hemispheric differences in the bilateral semantic system by comparing left and right resected TLE patients during verbal semantic processing of low frequency concepts. Picture naming and semantic comprehension tasks with varying word frequencies were included to investigate the pattern of impairment. Left but not right TLE patients showed impaired semantic processing, which was particularly apparent on low frequency items. This indicates that, for verbal information, the bilateral semantic system is more sensitive to damage in the left compared to the right ATL, which is in line with theories that attribute a more prominent role to the left ATL due to connections with pre-semantic verbal regions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88–100
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume114
Early online date23 Apr 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018

Keywords

  • epilepsy
  • language
  • semantic memory
  • temporal lobes

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