Temporal lobe volume predicts Wada memory test performance in patients with mesial temporal sclerosis

Kan Ding, Yunhua Gong, Pradeep N. Modur, Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, Mark Agostini, Puneet Gupta, Roderick McColl, Ryan Hays, Paul Van Ness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Wada test is widely used in the presurgical evaluation of potential temporal lobectomy patients to predict postoperative memory function. Expected asymmetry (EA), defined as Wada memory lateralized to the nonsurgical hemisphere, or a higher score after injection of the surgical hemisphere would be considered favorable in terms of postoperative memory outcome. However, in some cases, nonlateralized memory (NM) results, with no appreciable asymmetry, may occur because of impaired scores after both injections, often leading to denial of surgery. The reason for such nonlateralized Wada memory in patients with intractable temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) remains unclear. Given that quantitative morphometric magnetic resonance imaging studies in TLE patients have shown bilateral regional atrophy in temporal and extratemporal structures, we hypothesized that the volume loss in contralateral temporal structures could contribute to nonlateralized Wada memory performance. To investigate this, we examined the relationship between the volume changes of temporal structures and Wada memory scores in patients with intractable TLE with mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS) using an age- and gender-matched control group. Memory was considered nonlateralized if the absolute difference in the total correct recall scores between ipsilateral and contralateral injections was <11%. Among 21 patients, Wada memory was lateralized in 15 and nonlateralized in 6 patients, with all the nonlateralized scores being observed in left TLE. The recall scores after ipsilateral injection were significantly lower in patients with an NM profile than an EA profile (23 ± 14% vs. 59 ± 18% correct recall, p ≤ 0.001). However, the recall scores after contralateral injection were low but similar between the two groups (25 ± 17% vs. 25 ± 15% correct recall, p = 0.97). Compared to controls, all the patients showed greater volume loss in the temporal regions. However, patients with a NM profile showed significantly more volume loss than those with a lateralized memory profile in both contralateral and ipsilateral temporal regions (p < 0.05). Left hemispheric Wada memory performance correlated positively with the size of the left mesial and neocortical temporal structures (r = 0.49-0.63, p = 0.005-0.04). Our study suggests that volume loss in the nonsurgical temporal structures is associated with nonlateralized Wada memory results in patients with intractable TLE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-30
Number of pages6
JournalEpilepsy Research
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • Mesial temporal sclerosis
  • Regional atrophy
  • Temporal lobe epilepsy
  • Wada test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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