Volume 53 Number 6, 2016
Pages 813 — 826
Abstract — Epilepsy affects 1% of the general population and is highly prevalent among Veterans. The purpose of this phase I study was to investigate a presurgical linguistically distributed language treatment program that could potentially diminish effects of proper-name retrieval deficits following left anterior temporal lobe resection for intractable epilepsy. A single-subject multiple-baseline design was employed for three individuals with late-onset chronic left temporal lobe epilepsy. Word retrieval treatment was administered prior to anterior temporal lobe resection. The primary outcome measure was confrontation naming of proper nouns. Immediately posttreatment (before surgery), there was a positive effect for all trained stimuli in the form of improved naming as compared with pretreatment. In addition, trained stimuli were found to be better after surgery than they were at pretreatment baseline, which would not be expected had language treatment not been provided. This series of case studies introduces two fundamentally novel concepts: that commonly occurring deficits associated with left temporal lobe epilepsy can be treated despite the presence of damaged neural tissue and that providing this treatment prior to surgery can lead to better preservation of language function after surgery than would be expected if the treatment were not provided.
Key words: anterior temporal lobe, aphasia, epilepsy, epilepsy surgery, language, language treatment, name retrieval, proper noun naming, rehabilitation, treatment.
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