Executive functioning and depressed mood before and after unilateral frontal lobe resection for intractable epilepsy

Mario F. Dulay, Robyn M. Busch, Jessica S. Chapin, Lara Jehi, Imad Najm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Executive dysfunction occurs in a variety of patients who have sustained damage to the frontal lobes. In individuals with frontal lobe epilepsy (FLE) or after unilateral frontal lobe resection (FLR), a unique neuropsychological profile linking executive functions (EF) with the frontal lobe has been elusive, with conflicting findings in the literature. Some studies show greater risk of executive impairment with left-sided FLE or FLR, while others report greater risk for right-sided patients. Some studies report no relationship between FLE and EF impairment, while others show EF impairment regardless of side of seizure foci or surgery. In patients with temporal lobe epilepsy, executive dysfunction is associated with depressed mood possibly reflecting disruption of cortical-limbic pathways and/or frontal-striatal circuitry. Although not previously examined, depression level may affect executive functioning in those with FLE or FLR. We hypothesized that FLE patients with poor mood state would show greater executive dysfunction than FLE patients without poor mood state. The relationship among EF, side of surgery and depressed mood before and 8 months after unilateral FLR was evaluated in 64 patients using validated measures of EF and mood state (Beck Depression Inventory-II). Results indicated that individuals with depressed mood before surgery had greater difficulty on a task of mental flexibility compared to patients without preoperative depressed mood. Further, individuals with depressed mood before surgery had significant increases in perseverative responding and completed fewer categories on a card-sorting task after surgery compared to patients without preoperative depressed mood. Regression analyses showed that among side of surgery, seizure freedom status after surgery and depression status, only pre-surgical depression status explained a significant amount of variance in executive functioning performance after surgery. Results suggest that clinically elevated depressive symptoms before surgery are a risk factor for moderate declines in EF after surgery. Results may be attributable to reduced cognitive reserve in patients with depressive symptoms, or may reflect a common cause attributable to damage to unilateral dorsal and ventral lateral frontal lobe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1370-1376
Number of pages7
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume51
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013

Keywords

  • Depression
  • Epilepsy
  • Executive function
  • Frontal lobe resection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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