Epilepsy and the study of spatial memory using virtual reality

Véronique D. Bohbot and Louisa Dahmani

in Epilepsy and Memory

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199580286
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739408 | DOI:
Epilepsy and the study of spatial memory using virtual reality

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This chapter describes the use of virtual reality (VR) in the assessment of spatial memory in patients with epilepsy. VR has been an extremely useful resource for the study of the role of the medial temporal lobes (MTL) in spatial memory and cognitive mapping in patients with epilepsy. While several studies show that the right and left MTLs are specialized in the learning and memory of spatial and verbal information, respectively, recent VR studies in patients with unilateral MTL resections show that, in fact, both the right and left medial temporal lobes are essential. A recent fMRI study conducted with epilepsy patients showed that patients with right-sided MTL lesions have significant activity in the left hippocampus during a virtual navigation task, whereas patients with left-sided lesions have significant activity in the right hippocampus. Studies like these suggest that both the right and left hippocampus contribute to spatial memory and navigation.

Keywords: spatial memory; medial temporal lobes; cognitive mapping; hippocampus; navigation

Chapter.  8742 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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