Memory and epilepsy in nonhuman animals

Pierre-Pascal J. Lenck-Santini and Gregory L. Holmes

in Epilepsy and Memory

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199580286
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739408 | DOI:
Memory and epilepsy in nonhuman animals

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This chapter reviews neurophysiological studies of the effects of seizures on cognition in nonhuman animals. Animal models have contributed extensively to our understanding of the consequences of both status epilepticus and recurrent seizures on cognitive abilities. Animal studies allow the investigator to control many variables including age, seizure duration, number and frequency of seizures, and therapy. While a variety of animals have been used, the preponderance of the research on seizure-related effects on memory has been confined to rodents. While the prefrontal cortex is primarily responsible for working memory and the hippocampus is critical for reference memory, both effective working and reference memory are dependent upon the interplay between these structures. The majority of studies have demonstrated that either prolonged or frequent seizures result in a variety of cognitive deficits, including memory impairment. These studies have paralleled human studies and have provided insight into the pathological mechanisms responsible for seizure-induced cognitive deficits. While there are limitations to how much results from animal studies can be extrapolated to humans, biological changes responsible for these deficits are likely to play a role in the cognitive co-morbidities seen in humans with epilepsy.

Keywords: seizures; animal models; status epilepticus; rodents; cognitive deficits; memory impairment

Chapter.  9735 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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