Researchers at Sao Paulo School of Medicine, Brazil, analyzed the occurrence of episodic memory (for personally experienced events) and semantic memory (for stored knowledge acquired in the past) deficits in 19 consecutive children with mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS) (8-16 years old; mean IQ 97). Patients performed worse on tests of immediate and delayed verbal episodic memory, visual episodic memory, verbal and visual learning, mental scanning for semantic clues, object naming, word definition, and repetition of sentences. Patients with a history of status epilepticus had worse visual episodic memory, whereas patients with uncontrolled daily and weekly seizures had worse verbal learning. Patients on polytherapy were more impaired in visual learning. Early age of seizure onset had a significant negative impact on semantic memory tests. Except for a lower score on the Boston Naming Test with left sided MTS cf right, episodic or semantic memory tests showed no differences with laterality of MTS. [1]

COMMENT. MTS epilepsy in children is associated with significant deficits in episodic and semantic memory function, despite normal intelligence. The earlier the onset of epilepsy, the more severe is the impairment of semantic memory. Definition of distinct domains of memory is required for rehabilitation measures.

Tests of everyday verbal memory in 132 children with epilepsy were predictive of academic performance but not significantly correlated with reports of prospective memory. [2]