Neuropsychology Review

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 88–110 | Cite as

Memory Rehabilitation in Patients with Epilepsy: a Systematic Review

  • Samantha Joplin
  • Elizabeth Stewart
  • Michael Gascoigne
  • Suncica LahEmail author


Memory failure is a common clinical concern of patients with epilepsy and is associated with significant functional impairments. Thus, memory rehabilitation is of critical clinical importance. In this article, we aimed to systematically evaluate the efficacy of memory rehabilitation in patients with epilepsy. The Preferred Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) was used to guide searches, extraction and reporting of data in this review. PsycINFO, Medline and PsychBITE searches yielded 95 studies. Twelve papers met inclusion criteria, reporting outcomes of cognitive or behavioural interventions that specifically targeted the rehabilitation of memory in patients with epilepsy. Methodological rigour was rated using the Single-Case Experimental Design (SCED) scale for single-case studies and a modified version of the Downs and Black checklist for group studies. Twelve prospective studies, nine group (six pre-post design, one waitlist crossover, two randomised controlled trials) and three single-case studies were identified. Eleven of the studies included adults, eight of which involved adults with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). One paediatric study was identified. The quality of group studies ranged from 36% (poor) to 72% (good), using the modified Downs and Black checklist. Single-case studies were assessed using the SCED scale and assessed to range in quality from four to seven out to 11. Overall, memory rehabilitation was associated with improved memory function in all studies. Verbal memory outcomes were most commonly examined and associated with improvements. This review found that the level of evidence available to support rehabilitation of memory in patients with epilepsy was generally weak and inconsistent. Nevertheless, studies conducted to date, albeit of limited methodological quality, offer preliminary evidence that memory rehabilitation is associated with improvements in verbal memory in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy. Little is known about the efficacy of memory rehabilitation in patients with non-TLE, children, and other aspects of memory difficulties. Guidelines for future research are proposed.


Rehabilitation Compensation Restoration Seizures Surgery Memory 



This research activity was funded by awards from: Nursing and Allied Health Scholarship and Support Scheme (NAHSSS) and the National Health and Medical Research Council PhD Scholarship.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samantha Joplin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Elizabeth Stewart
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael Gascoigne
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Suncica Lah
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its DisordersMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Australian College of Applied PsychologySydneyAustralia

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