Olfactory Information Processing and Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

Carroll, B.; Richardson, J. T. E. and Thompson, P. (1993). Olfactory Information Processing and Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. Brain and Cognition, 22(2) pp. 230–243.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1006/brcg.1993.1036


It has been suggested that olfactory information processing is impaired in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy. However, the existing evidence is not wholly in accordance with this notion. Patients with epileptogenic foci in the left temporal lobe, the right temporal lobe, or other brain regions were compared with normal control subjects in the identification and retention of common odors. All three patient groups were substantially and equally impaired in verbally labelling the odors in question. The patients with epilepsy associated with the left temporal lobe or with nontemporal regions showed no sign of any impairment on a test of immediate recognition memory for common odors. However, the patients with epilepsy associated with the right temporal lobe showed a specific disturbance in their retention of nameable odors. It is suggested that the latter patients were selectively impaired in their retrieval of the episodic memories which provide the context for the encoding of distinctive odors.

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