OBJECTIVES Depression is a common psychiatric complication of temporal lobe epilepsy. This study examined the effect of depressed mood on neuropsychological performance among patients with chronic temporal lobe epilepsy.
METHODS Seventy consecutive surgery candidates for medication resistant complex partial seizures of unilateral temporal lobe origin were assessed for psychiatric symptoms and underwent comprehensive neuropsychological assessment.
RESULTS Standardised psychiatric interview disclosed that 34% of the patient sample exhibited significant depression. Controlling for seizure frequency, patients with comorbid depression at the time of neuropsychological assessment exhibited significantly poorer performance on measures of intelligence, language, visuoperceptual ability, memory, and executive function. Within lateralised temporal lobe epilepsy groups, the adverse effects of depression on cognitive function were greater in patients with left temporal lobe compared with those with right temporal lobe epilepsy. In addition, depression seemed to be underrecognised and undertreated as none of the patients with epilepsy and comorbid depression were treated for their psychiatric condition at the time of admission for monitoring.
CONCLUSIONS Depression, a common psychiatric comorbidity among patients with chronic temporal lobe epilepsy, seems to be undertreated and to have adverse effects on cognitive functioning.
- temporal lobe epilepsy
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