• Epilepsy;
  • Memory;
  • Temporal Iobectomy;
  • Postoperative outcome;
  • Neuropsychology

Summary: Purpose: To characterize patterns of base rate change on measures of verbal and visual memory after anterior temporal lobectomy (ATL) using a newly developed regression-based outcome methodology that accounts for effects of practice and regression towards the mean, and to comment on the predictive utility of baseline memory measures on postoperative memory outcome.

Methods: Memory change was operationalized using regression-based change norms in a group of left (n = 53) and right (n = 48) ATL patients. All patients were administered tests of episodic verbal (prose recall, list learning) and visual (figure reproduction) memory, and semantic memory before and after ATL.

Results: ATL patients displayed a wide range of memory outcome across verbal and visual memory domains. Significant performance declines were noted for 25–50% of left ATL patients on verbal semantic and episodic memory tasks, while one-third of right ATL patients displayed significant declines in immediate and delayed episodic prose recall. Significant performance improvement was noted in an additional one-third of right ATL patients on delayed prose recall. Base rate change was similar between the two ATL groups across immediate and delayed visual memory. Approximately one-fourth of all patients displayed clinically meaningful losses on the visual memory task following surgery. Robust relationships between preoperative memory measures and nonstandardized change scores were attenuated or reversed using standardized memory outcome techniques.

Conclusions: Our results demonstrated substantial group variability in memory outcome for ATL patients. These results extend previous research by incorporating known effects of practice and regression to the mean when addressing meaningful neuropscyhological change following epilepsy surgery. Our findings also suggest that future neuropsychological outcome studies should take steps towards controlling for regression-to-the-mean before drawing predictive conclusions.