Identifying area of brain responsible for memory loss can lead to better treatment.

By Eduardo Locatelli, MD

We are learning more and more about how to identify the range of memory impairments associated with epilepsy and link them to specific areas of the brain. This knowledge is helping us to offer better treatments and assist in the rehabilitation of people whose memories have been impaired.

Are you having difficulty remembering a scheduled doctor’s appointment or a party that you were invited to? This might be because your seizures are occurring in the frontal lobe of your brain. The frontal lobe is responsible for prospective memory, or things that happen in the future.

Are you having difficulty remembering an activity you did yesterday or a conversation you recently had? This might be because your seizures are originating from the temporal lobe of your brain. The temporal lobe is responsible for new learning.

If you have problems remembering words or get stuck in the middle of a sentence when you are searching for the right word, your seizures are most likely originating in the left side of the brain. This is because the left side of the brain is the side that controls language and speech.

Difficulties with memory can also happen because of side effects of taking anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs), such as drowsiness or attention problems. These side effects can impact short-term memory and may make it more difficult to learn and store new information. There may be a higher chance of you having memory difficulties if you take high doses of medication or more than one type of AED.

If you have epilepsy, experience seizures, and are having difficulties with memory, we may be able to help. In our epilepsy monitoring unit located in Holy Cross Hospital, we can determine the area of your brain where seizures occur. Once we gather the data to make the determination, we may offer treatment options which can reduce seizure activity or eliminate them completely. As a result of less frequent seizure activity, your memory function should improve.

We welcome any of your questions and look forward to your feedback.

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