Word-finding difficulties confound performance on verbal cognitive measures in adults with intractable left temporal lobe epilepsy

Robyn M. Busch, Jessica S. Chapin, Jennifer S. Haut, Mario F. Dulay, Richard I. Naugle, Imad Najm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Summary This study sought to determine if word-finding difficulties (WFDs), which are common in adults with dominant temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), are related to performance on verbal cognitive measures, including memory. One hundred six individuals with left TLE and pathologically confirmed mesial temporal sclerosis completed comprehensive preoperative neuropsychological evaluations. Patients were divided into two groups based on the degree of benefit received from phonemic cueing on a confrontation naming task. Cognitive performance was then compared between patients with greater and fewer WFDs. Patients with greater WFDs demonstrated poorer performance on many verbal cognitive measures compared to those with fewer WFDs. In contrast, there were no significant differences between groups on any of the nonverbal cognitive measures. Chi-square analyses indicated that below average verbal memory performance occurred at a significantly higher rate for patients with greater WFDs (42-46%) as compared to patients with fewer WFDs (18-24%). Results showed that WFDs confound performance on verbal cognitive measures in adult patients with left TLE, particularly on measures with high demands for lexical retrieval. This suggests that when patients have word-retrieval difficulties, measures of verbal memory and verbal intelligence may be underestimated and potentially lead to misinterpretation of test performance and misinformation regarding risk of declines after surgical resection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e37-e40
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • Cognition
  • Epilepsy
  • Temporal lobe epilepsy
  • Word-finding
  • Word-retrieval

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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