Table of Contents
Epilepsy Research and Treatment
Volume 2011, Article ID 596174, 11 pages
Research Article

Executive Functions in Chronic Mesial Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

1Clinical Department of Neurology, Innsbruck Medical University, Anichstrasse 35, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
2Department of Neurology, Christian Doppler Clinic, Paracelsus Medical University, Ignaz Herrer Strasse 79, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
3Clinical Department of Radiology, Innsbruck Medical University, Anichstrasse 35, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

Received 24 August 2010; Revised 6 December 2010; Accepted 11 January 2011

Academic Editor: Andreas Schulze-Bonhage

Copyright © 2011 Laura Zamarian et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


There is no consensus as to whether mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) leads to executive function deficits. In this study, we adopted an extensive neuropsychological test battery and assessed different executive functions in chronic, unilateral MTLE. Performance of MTLE patients was compared with that of healthy peers and with normative data. Several MTLE patients had scores below cut-off or below the 10th percentile of normative data. Scores of the whole patient group were overall in the average range of normative data. Relative to controls, MTLE patients performed poorly in tests of working memory, cognitive flexibility, categorical verbal fluency, set-shifting, categorization, and planning. These findings raise an important methodological issue as they suggest that executive function deficits in chronic MTLE may be individually variable and that their assessment should include different tests. Deficits in chronic MTLE are not limited to temporal lobe functions, such as memory, but may extend to extra temporal cognitive domains, such as executive functions.