Complex transient epileptic amnesia

Ryan D. Walsh, Robert E. Wharen, William O. Tatum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Transient epileptic amnesia is a rare but probably underrecognized form of temporal lobe epilepsy, which typically manifests as episodic isolated memory loss. Consequently, transient epileptic amnesia may be readily misdiagnosed as a nonepileptic memory dysfunction in older individuals. When appropriately recognized, it has been described as a treatment-responsive syndrome amenable to antiepileptic drugs. We describe a patient with drug-resistant transient epileptic amnesia treated with unilateral temporal lobectomy. Prolonged postictal slowing in the mesial temporal structures was evident on invasive electroencephalography 5. hours after the occurrence of a brief focal seizure. These findings support the theory of a Todd phenomenon as the underlying pathophysiological mechanism in transient epileptic amnesia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)410-413
Number of pages4
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2011


  • Dementia
  • Epilepsy surgery
  • Epileptic pseudodementia
  • Invasive electroencephalography
  • Temporal lobe epilepsy
  • Todd phenomenon
  • Transient epileptic amnesia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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  • Cite this

    Walsh, R. D., Wharen, R. E., & Tatum, W. O. (2011). Complex transient epileptic amnesia. Epilepsy and Behavior, 20(2), 410-413.