Carolina Deifelt Streese

Department
Neurology
Neurosurgery

“Brain network plasticity and verbal memory outcomes following temporal lobe resection”

Biography

Surgical removal of brain tissue is an elective procedure for patients with medication-resistant mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE). Although it is a highly effective treatment, approximately 44% of patients with left-lateralized MTLE demonstrate a significant decline in verbal memory following resection. One possible mechanism underpinning cognitive outcomes may be changes in network connectivity

My doctoral work evaluates the relationship between lesion network metrics and cognitive performance following temporal lobe resection (TLR) as treatment for MTLE. The objective of this project was to quantitatively describe and characterize changes in lesion networks during recovery from TLR, and to analyze how these changes relate to verbal memory outcomes. My research demonstrates that participants with left-lateralized MTLE perform worse that those with right-lateralized MTLE in a task of verbal learning, suggesting deficits in working memory and encoding. It shows that the relative size and interconnectedness of lesion networks initially decrease following TLR while the overall architecture of the networks remains stable, suggesting a loss of strong connections between nodes in the lesion network. It also shows that these lost connections return after a period of recovery. Finally, my work supported no significant relationships between lesion network metrics and verbal memory outcomes. This research yields insights into the neural underpinnings of recovery trajectories and verbal memory outcomes in MTLE, providing patients and healthcare providers a more thorough understanding of this condition.

Current position:
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Neurosurgery, University of Iowa
Carolina Deifelt Streese
Hometown: Decorah, IA