Accelerated Long Term Forgetting in patients with focal seizures: incidence rate and contributing factors

Laurie A. Miller*, Annu Mothakunnel, Emma Flanagan, Armin Nikpour, Zoe Thayer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Accelerated Long Term Forgetting (ALF) is usually defined as a memory impairment that is seen only at long delays (e.g., after days or weeks) and not at shorter delays (e.g., 30 min) typically used in clinical settings. Research indicates that ALF occurs in some patients with epilepsy, but the incidence rates and underlying causes have not been established. In this study, we considered these issues. Methods: Forty-four patients with a history of focal seizures were tested at 30 min and 7 day delays for material from the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT) and Aggie Figures Test. Recently published norms from a matched group of 60 control subjects (Miller et al., 2015 ) were used to determine whether patients demonstrated ALF, impairment at 30 min or intact memory performance. Results: The incidence of ALF in the epilepsy patients (18%) was > 3 times higher than normal on the RAVLT, but no different (7%) from the incidence in normal subjects on the Aggie Figures. A different, but again significantly high, proportion of patients (36%) showed shorter-term memory deficits on at least one task. ALF was found mainly in patients with temporal-lobe epilepsy, but also occurred in one patient with an extratemporal seizure focus. Presence of a hippocampal lesion was the main predicting factor of ALF. Conclusions: Many patients with a focal seizure disorder show memory deficits after longer delays that are not evident on standard assessment. The present study explored the factors associated with this ALF memory profile. These new findings will enhance clinical practice, particularly the management of patients with memory complaints.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-113
Number of pages6
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • memory
  • epilepsy
  • lateralization
  • hippocampus
  • temporal lobe
  • anticonvulsant


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