Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), affecting the medial temporal lobe, is a disorder that affects not just episodic memory but also working memory (WM). However, the exact nature of hippocampal-related network activity in visuospatial WM remains unclear. To clarify this, we utilized a functional connectivity (FC) methodology to investigate hippocampal network involvement during the encoding phase of a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) visuospatial WM task in right and left TLE patients. Specifically, we assessed the relation between FC within right and left hippocampus-seeded networks, and patient performance (rate of correct responses) during the encoding phase of a block span WM task. Results revealed that both TLE groups displayed a negative relation between WM performance and FC between the left hippocampus and ipsilateral parahippocampal gyrus. We also found a positive relationship between performance and FC between the left hippocampus seed and the precuneus, in the right TLE group. Lastly, the left TLE specifically demonstrated a negative relationship between performance and FC between both hippocampi and ipsilateral cerebellar clusters. Our findings indicate that right and left TLE groups may develop different patterns of FC to implement visuospatial WM. Indeed, the present result suggests that FC provides a unique means of identifying abnormalities in brain networks, which cannot be discerned at the level of behavioral output through neuropsychological testing. More broadly, our findings demonstrate that FC methods applied to task-based fMRI provide the opportunity to define specific task-related networks.
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