Memory impairment linked to abnormal brain activity in people with epilepsy according to new study

A new study recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience has revealed how memory and abnormal brain activity are linked in people with epilepsy.

Memory impairment or loss is a common complaint amongst people with epilepsy and this study, which was conducted by Cedars-Sinai in the US, investigated the area of the brain which is key to memory –the hippocampus.

The study focussed on 11 people with epilepsy and looked at the activity of individual cells in the hippocampus during a memory recognition task.

The task involved showing patients a series of images. They were then shown some of these images again intertwined with new images and asked whether they had seen any of the images before.

Researchers found that a certain type of abnormal electrical activity in the brain – which is a characteristic of epilepsy both during and between seizures – temporarily changed the activity of individual cells in the hippocampus which in turn affected the patient’s memory.

One of authors of the study, Dr. Chrystal Reed, heralded the findings of the study as it increases the understanding of why memory impairment occurs for people with epilepsy and said that this may lead to the development of treatments to combat this.

The full study can be accessed here.

As always, we will continue to monitor emerging worldwide research regarding epilepsy and provide updates on our website and social media channels.

Should you or a family member be experiencing difficulties with memory retention owing to epilepsy, please be sure to discuss with your medical team at your next appointment.