Over the long term, epilepsy is clearly associated with cognitive impairment. This has been demonstrated functionally, using neuropsychological testing, and reinforced by structural studies showing progressive atrophy in patients with chronic epilepsy 1-3. The prevailing explanation for this, of course, has been the direct and cumulative effects of seizures on the brain. The basic science literature is chock full of studies showing impairment of neuronal function after seizures, both acutely and chronically. And for those of us who see patients, the progressive memory complaints and clear-cut decline in function seen in those with drug-resistant epilepsy — particularly temporal lobe epilepsy — appear to sufficiently attest to the fact that the seizures are the culprit.
Recommended CitationMintzer, MD, Scott, "Plumbing and wiring: Atherosclerosis in epilepsy." (2014). Department of Neurology Faculty Papers. Paper 78.