Recent studies show that people with epilepsy, and particularly those that have frequent seizures that affect the temporal lobe, might be more prone to memory decline, as well as loss of neurons. How can this affect your daily life or the life of someone you know and who has epilepsy is still studied, however recent studies show results that are not very optimistic.
In other words, freeing the region that processes and stores memories which is called hippocampus, is affected by the loss of neurons. The same region of brain is affected in epilepsy patients. The studies also show that temporal epilepsy is primarily caused by hippocampal sclerosis and that it affects your ability to recall details of specific events in everyday life.
Patients with you hippocampal sclerosis have showed dramatic memory deficits in traditional neuropsychological tests, as well as inconsistencies between neuropsychological test results and there are complaints about their memory loss in everyday life. In order to get a realistic picture of memory performance in these patients, researchers have had to compare their cognitive performance to the cognitive performance of healthy individuals.
Further research has shown that people who suffer fromhippocampal sclerosis were less likely to recall the names of unfamiliar people, places where there are personal items were stored, as well as some details to elaborate stories. In addition to that, the patients also had difficulties when it comes to orientation in space and time. Not only that, but it has also been noted that the cognitive performance was significantly lower in a ratio that is proportional to their ability to control the seizures, or those patients that were taking multiple antiepileptic drugs.
Another study has also shown that brain function networks are affected by forms of epilepsy. Patients with epilepsy had difficulties in assessing their working memory, especially when compared to healthy participants and analysed along the healthy participants working memory. Even though both groups had similar results, the group which consisted of patients with epilepsy required significantly longer times in order to complete the task. The group of participants who did not have epilepsy took less time, and this serves to show that specific brain regions are in direct relation between the level of activity and performance.
All these studies serve to show that seizures definitely have an impact on both long-term and short-term memory. People who are affected by epilepsy are also affected to changes in the structures of the brain, which affects the ability to recall specific details. When it comes to learning, memory deficits can be corrected by using drugs that calm the over active signaling cascades in the brain, and these drugs can be used to restore the level of normalcy to the brain.
Scientists are still working the way out of figuring how seizures affect various types of memory and how they affect molecular signaling and the structures in the brain. The American epilepsy Society will certainly conduct a lot studies in the future that will show how epilepsy can be dealt with in terms of memory loss.