Language lateralization correlates with verbal memory performance in children with focal epilepsy

Everts, Regula; Harvey, A Simon; Lillywhite, Leasha; Wrennall, Jacquie; Abbott, David F; Gonzalez, Linda; Kean, Michael; Jackson, Graeme D; Anderson, Vicki (2010). Language lateralization correlates with verbal memory performance in children with focal epilepsy. Epilepsia, 51(4), pp. 627-38. Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2009.02406.x

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PURPOSE: Assessment of language dominance with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and neuropsychological evaluation is often used prior to epilepsy surgery. This study explores whether language lateralization and cognitive performance are systematically related in young patients with focal epilepsy. METHODS: Language fMRI and neuropsychological data (language, visuospatial functions, and memory) of 40 patients (7-18 years of age) with unilateral, refractory focal epilepsy in temporal and/or frontal areas of the left (n = 23) or right hemisphere (n = 17) were analyzed. fMRI data of 18 healthy controls (7-18 years) served as a normative sample. A laterality index was computed to determine the lateralization of activation in three regions of interest (frontal, parietal, and temporal). RESULTS: Atypical language lateralization was demonstrated in 12 (30%) of 40 patients. A correlation between language lateralization and verbal memory performance occurred in patients with left-sided epilepsy over all three regions of interest, with bilateral or right-sided language lateralization being correlated with better verbal memory performance (Word Pairs Recall: frontal r = -0.4, p = 0.016; parietal r = -0.4, p = 0.043; temporal r = -0.4, p = 0.041). Verbal memory performance made the largest contribution to language lateralization, whereas handedness and side of seizures did not contribute to the variance in language lateralization. DISCUSSION: This finding reflects the association between neocortical language and hippocampal memory regions in patients with left-sided epilepsy. Atypical language lateralization is advantageous for verbal memory performance, presumably a result of transfer of verbal memory function. In children with focal epilepsy, verbal memory performance provides a better idea of language lateralization than handedness and side of epilepsy and lesion.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Endocrinology (DFKE) > Clinic of Paediatric Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Everts, Regula








Anette van Dorland

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:07

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:00

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Web of Science ID:


URI: (FactScience: 196579)

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