OBJECTIVES: In a study of patients with focal epilepsy the hypothesis was explored that different measurements of psychopathology are related to specific distributions of cerebral perfusion. METHODS: Forty patients had SPECT performed with (99m)Tc-HMPAO. In addition, patients received a psychiatric evaluation with the following psychiatric questionnaires: the Beck depression inventory, the Leyton obsessionality inventory, the Bear-Fedio questionnaire, and the social stress and support interview. Patients were analysed in two groups according to the laterality of the epilepsy. Nine patients were excluded based on poor quality scans (n = 1), unlateralised epilepsy (n = 4), and left or ambidextrous handedness (n = 4). RESULTS: There were no overall differences between the left and right epilepsy groups on measures of psychopathology. Associations were found between scores on some of the rating scales and regional cerebral blood flow. Specifically, for patients with left sided epilepsy, higher scores on the Beck depression inventory were associated with lower contralateral temporal and bilateral frontal perfusion, and higher occipital perfusion. For patients with right sided epilepsy higher scores on the Leyton obsessionality inventory were associated with increased perfusion in ipsilateral temporal, thalamic, and basal ganglia regions and bilateral frontal regions. CONCLUSION: The results do not support the notion that lateralised epileptogenic lesions are associated with different levels of depression, obsessionality, or personality traits. They support the view that certain psychopathological symptom patterns are related to specific regional dysfunctions depending on the laterality of a hemispheric lesion.
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