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Title: An investigation of long-term forgetting in people with temporal lobe epilepsy
Author: Cassel, Anneli
ISNI:       0000 0004 5350 1722
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is a form of epilepsy characterised by focal seizures within the temporal lobes. It is well known that associated temporal lobe structures are implicated in the acquisition and consolidation of new declarative memories. Therefore, it is unsurprising that people with TLE often complain of memory difficulties. However, measures that are used currently clinically to assess for the presence of memory deficits do not always detect evidence of memory difficulties in this population. In the past, this discrepancy has been interpreted as evidence of low mood in those who present with subjective difficulties. Recently, it has been suggested that people with TLE may experience a phenomenon known as ‘accelerated long-term forgetting’ whereby acquisition and retention of declarative memories over initial consolidation delays (i.e. approximately 30 minutes) is intact but then rapidly forgotten over longer timeframes of hours, days, or weeks: outside the timeframe of current standardised memory measures. Although this may provide an explanation for why memory problems in the population with TLE currently go largely undetected, the research in this area has typically been methodologically flawed. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to investigate whether people with TLE still exhibit evidence of accelerated long-term forgetting after controlling for the methodological confounds of previous research. Eighteen participants with TLE and eighteen neurologically healthy controls were assessed for long-term forgetting using two novel measures designed for the purpose of the current study to meet a number of methodological criteria. Each group was matched for age, education and intelligence and performance on standardised memory measures was comparable. Evidence for accelerated long-term forgetting at one-week delay was found for the verbal task but not for the visuo-spatial task, where accelerated forgetting occurred at medium-term delay. Consideration of possible variables important in forgetting rates was conducted through exploratory analyses, which cautiously implicated mood, mesial temporal lobe pathology, polytherapy, and laterality of seizure focus in accelerated forgetting in the two measures differentially. The implications of these findings were discussed and recommendations for future research suggested.
Supervisor: Kopelman, Michael David ; Morris, Robin Guy Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available