Olfactory short-term recognition memory was assessed with a delayed odour-matching task in 38 patients with unilateral temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) and stereotactic electroencephalography (SEEG) recordings taken prior to surgical treatment. The amygdala SEEG activity associated with odorant stimulation was examined in 18 patients. Because the invasive SEEG procedure is only performed in a clinical framework, electrophysiological data obtained from these patients could not be analysed in comparison with data obtained from control subjects. Behavioural results (hits, false alarms, discrimination, bias scores) showed global impairment of odour recognition memory in patients when compared with controls. We also found lower discrimination and higher false alarm scores in left than in right TLE patients, and higher false alarm scores in male than in female patients. The hemisphere effect is discussed in terms of psychosocial trait differences between patients. Electrophysiological recordings collected from the amygdala demonstrated that odorant stimulation was associated with chemosensory evoked potentials (CSEPs). Analysis revealed that CSEPs obtained for target odorants had lower peak amplitudes and latencies than those obtained in response to sample odorants. The reduced peak amplitudes suggest a mechanism of repetition suppression--a process assumed to reflect neural activity related to high-level cognitive processes such as attention, memory and decision making. Latency modulations appear rather to be linked to early stages of information processing and may therefore reflect a facilitation process due to selective attention.
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