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Devinsky, Orrin
"The myth of silent cortex and the morbidity of epileptogenic tissue: implications for temporal lobectomy"
Epilepsy & behavior 2005 Nov; 7(3):383-389
This article reviews two commonly held myths regarding temporal lobe epilepsy-it is a static disorder with minimal morbidity and mortality, and epileptogenic tissue impairs only the functions of the seizure focus-and one myth concerning temporal lobe functions-they contain areas of nonfunctional, 'silent' cortex. Chronic temporal lobe epilepsy can cause progressive structural, cognitive, and behavioral changes. Aside from the seizure focus, primary epileptogenic cortex may have a deleterious influence on distant brain areas. Removing this 'nociferous' cortex and reducing the antiepileptic drug burden can improve cognitive or behavioral and metabolic function in areas remote from the resection. Anterior temporal lobectomy often removes functional tissue that may or may not be epileptogenic. Because normal brain does not contain functionless, 'silent' areas, the procedure can have negative as well as positive cognitive or behavioral consequences. To improve the outcomes of focal cortical resections for seizure control, we need to better define functional and nociferous cortex and more clearly understand their boundaries and interactions

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