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Study into paediatric brain surgery and temporary memory problems

20 November, 2002

Children who undergo surgery for temporal lobe epilepsy on the left side of their brain are more likely to have temporary memory problems than children whose surgery is on the right side of their brain.

Researchers at the University of Bonn, publishing in the journal Epilepsy Review, performed verbal memory tests on children before surgery and again three and twelve months after surgery. Prior to surgery, there were no significant differences between the group whose surgery was going to be on the left side of their brain and those who surgery was to be on the right side.

Three months after surgery, the group who had been operated on on the left hand side of the brain showed a decline in learning and delayed recall, performing significantly lower than the other group, however, the researchers found the recovery was in evidence when the group were monitored after 12 months.

The researchers wrote:

"Declines after left-sided temporal resections [surgical removal] seem to be reversible at least for part of the children, perhaps due to the greater plasticity of the immature brain."