This is an
open-access article distributed under
the terms of the Creative Commons
Attribution License (CC BY).
DeFelipe, J.; DeFelipe-Oroquieta, J.; Furcila, D.; et al. "Neuroanatomical and psychological considerations in temporal lobe epilepsy". Frontiers in neuroanatomy. 16, 2022, 995286
Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is the most common form of focal epilepsy and is associated with a variety of structural and psychological alterations. Recently, there has been renewed interest in using brain tissue resected during epilepsy surgery, in particular 'non-epileptic' brain samples with normal histology that can be found alongside epileptic tissue in the same epileptic patients - with the aim being to study the normal human brain organization using a variety of methods. An important limitation is that different medical characteristics of the patients may modify the brain tissue. Thus, to better determine how 'normal' the resected tissue is, it is fundamental to know certain clinical, anatomical and psychological characteristics of the patients. Unfortunately, this information is frequently not fully available for the patient from which the resected tissue has been obtained - or is not fully appreciated by the neuroscientists analyzing the brain samples, who are not necessarily experts in epilepsy. In order to present the full picture of TLE in a way that would be accessible to multiple communities (e.g., basic researchers in neuroscience, neurologists, neurosurgeons and psychologists), we have reviewed 34 TLE patients, who were selected due to the availability of detailed clinical, anatomical, and psychological information for each of the patients. Our aim was to convey the full complexity of the disorder, its putative anatomical substrates, and the wide range of individual variability, with a view toward: (1) emphasizing the importance of considering critical patient information when using brain samples for basic research and (2) gaining a better understanding of normal and abnormal brain functioning. In agreement with a large number of previous reports, this study (1) reinforces the notion of substantial individual variability among epileptic patients, and (2) highlights the common but overlooked psychopathological alterations that occur even in patients who become seizure-free after surgery. The first point is based on pre- and post-surgical comparisons of patients with hippocampal sclerosis and patients with normal-looking hippocampus in neuropsychological evaluations. The second emerges from our extensive battery of personality and projective tests, in a two-way comparison of these two types of patients with regard to pre- and post-surgical performance.