Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria
Print version ISSN 0004-282X
MENDONCA, Paulo Bueno de; PICCININ, Lucy Campos; CAPUCHO, Celso Medeiros and CAMPOS, Carlos José Reis de. Effect of lateralized epileptic discharges on the thought flow. Arq. Neuro-Psiquiatr. [online]. 2001, vol.59, n.2B, pp. 318-323. ISSN 0004-282X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0004-282X2001000300002.
PURPOSE: Pauses in verbal expression of thought flow in patients with partial epilepsy was studied in order to achieve a best comprehension of brain interhemispheric influences. METHOD: We studied thirty nine patients with partial epileptic seizures and twenty four volunteers (control group). Free association of ideas was used as a method to stablish the thought flow, starting with a stimulus word (subject name) that must be followed by spontaneous and consecutive word-phrase. Patients were instructed to say any thought that came to their minds without any kind of censoring. Subject responses were recorded through a PC keyboard and time intervals (pauses) between each word-phrase were processed by a software developed for this purpose. RESULTS: Time intervals reduction among associations in right lesional group were compared to left lesional, right non-lesional and control groups. An increase of associative time intervals was observed in the right non-lesional group compared to left non-lesional group. CONCLUSIONS: We suggest a possible inhibitory inter-hemispheric function of the right hemisphere modulating verbal expression of the thought flow. Considering the hypothesis of the inter-hemispheric inhibition by the right hemisphere on left hemisphere, we admit that in epileptic patients with right hemispheric lesion there is an attenuation of the inter-hemispheric inhibition and an increase in thought flow, whereas in patients without a lesion but a paroxysmal epileptic activity in right temporal lobe there is an exacerbation of this inhibitory function and consequent reduction in the thought flow.
Keywords : partial epilepsy; free association; computerized psychological test; thought flow.