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Pediatric temporal lobe epilepsy versus frontal lobe epilepsy: how does cognitive performance differ?


Examinations of cognitive impairments associated with partial epilepsy have focused primarily on temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), with results indicating both general and specific cognitive impairments, including verbal memory and language impairments in both adults and children [13]. Little is known about frontal lobe epilepsy (FLE). The few existing investigations of pediatric FLE suggest visuospatial difficulties [4].

Materials and methods

The current study investigated differences in general intellectual ability, verbal and nonverbal ability and memory between children with TLE and FLE. Participants (TLE n=15, FLE n=15, ages 7 to 17, mean age 11.5 years, 50% male) were patients from a pediatric neuropsychology clinic. Diagnoses were confirmed by EEGs, clinical report, and physical examination. The Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI), verbal and nonverbal memory tasks were administered.


T-tests revealed that WASI FSIQ was higher in TLE than FLE, t = 2.08, p =.047. The WASI subtest of Block Design was also higher in TLE, with t = 2.37, p =.025. No significant differences between TLE and FLE were detected on memory performance. While not all were significantly different, mean scores of children with FLE were lower than those of children with TLE on all indices.


Children with FLE scored lower on a visuospatial task, indicating a specific weakness and also on FSIQ, indicating broader cognitive impairment in FLE than TLE. Expected memory impairments were not confirmed in either TLE or FLE. It is important characterize pediatric FLE further in order to optimize treatment and rehabilitation.


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Correspondence to Karen Petty.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Petty, K., Gross, A., Brewer, V. et al. Pediatric temporal lobe epilepsy versus frontal lobe epilepsy: how does cognitive performance differ?. Ann Gen Psychiatry 7, S221 (2008).

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  • Cognitive Impairment
  • Memory Task
  • Memory Performance
  • Temporal Lobe Epilepsy
  • Verbal Memory