Mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) can be associated with emotion recognition impairment that can be particularly severe in patients with early onset seizures (1–3). Whereas, there is growing evidence that memory and language can improve in seizure-free patients after anterior temporal lobectomy (ATL) (4), the effects of surgery on emotional processing are still unknown. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate short-term reorganization of networks engaged in facial emotion recognition in MTLE patients. Behavioral and fMRI data were collected from six patients before and after ATL. During the fMRI scan, patients were asked to make a gender decision on fearful and neutral faces. Behavioral data demonstrated that two patients with early onset right MTLE were impaired in fear recognition while fMRI results showed they lacked specific activations for fearful faces. Post-ATL behavioral data showed improved emotion recognition ability, while fMRI demonstrated the recruitment of a functional network for fearful face processing. Our results suggest that ATL elicited brain plasticity mechanisms allowing behavioral and fMRI improvement in emotion recognition.
Keywords: mesial temporal lobe epilepsy, functional recovery, facial expression, emotion, functional magnetic resonance
Citation: Benuzzi F, Zamboni G, Meletti S, Serafini M, Lui F, Baraldi P, Duzzi D, Rubboli G, Tassinari CA and Nichelli PF (2014) Recovery from emotion recognition impairment after temporal lobectomy. Front. Neurol. 5:92. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2014.00092
Received: 27 March 2014; Accepted: 23 May 2014;
Published online: 06 June 2014.
Edited by:Fernando Cendes, University of Campinas, Brazil
Reviewed by:Peter Halasz, Hungarian Sleep Society, Hungary
Copyright: © 2014 Benuzzi, Zamboni, Meletti, Serafini, Lui, Baraldi, Duzzi, Rubboli, Tassinari and Nichelli. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
*Correspondence: Francesca Benuzzi, Department of Biomedical, Metabolic and Neural Sciences, NOCSAE Hospital, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Via Giardini 1355, Baggiovara, Modena 41126, Italy e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org