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Autobiographical Memory in Children with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

  • Michael B. Gascoigne (a1) (a2), Mary Lou Smith (a3), Richard Webster (a4), Belinda Barton (a5), Deepak Gill (a4) and Suncica Lah (a1) (a2)...

Autobiographical memory involves the recall of personal facts (semantic memory) and re-experiencing of specific personal events (episodic memory). Although impairments in autobiographical memory have been found in adults with unilateral temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) and attributed to compromised hippocampal integrity, it is not yet known whether this occurs in children with TLE. In the current study, 21 children with TLE and 24 healthy controls of comparable age, sex, and socioeconomic status were administered the Children's Autobiographical Interview. Compared to controls, children with TLE recalled fewer episodic details, but only when no retrieval prompts were provided. There was no difference between the groups for semantic autobiographic details. Interestingly, the number of episodic details recalled increased significantly from 6 to 16 years of age in healthy control children, but not in children with TLE. Exploratory analyses revealed that, within the group of children with TLE, epilepsy factors, including presence or absence of structural hippocampal abnormalities, did not relate to the richness of episodic recall. Our results provide first evidence of autobiographical episodic memory deficits in children with TLE. (JINS, 2013, 19, 1–12)

Corresponding author
Correspondence and reprint requests to: Suncica Sunny Lah, School of Psychology, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia. E-mail:
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