Adolescent neuropsychological development after early right prefrontal cortex damage

Paul J. Eslinger, Kathleen R. Biddle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Adolescent development and pattern of recovery are described for a 15-year-old boy who sustained extensive right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex damage at age 7 from rupture and surgical treatment of a deep arteriovenous malformation. Follow-up evaluations at 4 years and most recently 8 years after illness have shown clear improvement in social-behavioral and almost all cognitive areas initially assessed. He demonstrated resolution of left hemispatial neglect and other visuospatial impairments in working memory, design fluency, and planning and organization. However, at the 8-year follow-up interval, an acquired form of attention deficit disorder remains evident. We hypothesized that this is the likely cause of comparatively lower scores in general intelligence, verbal learning and memory, discourse, and processing speed, than at the 4-year follow-up interval. New measures of emotional face and voice recognition showed only minor difficulties, principally in identifying vocal disgust and fear. Social and psychological maturation has continued to improve, with no evidence of developmental arrest or pervasive social impairment, although the individual is confused at times by complexities and nuances of social interaction. The pattern of findings 8 years after early right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex damage suggests remarkable recovery of primary visuospatial and social impairments, but lingering and somewhat worsening performance deficits which may be due to attentional difficulties and impulsive responding. Treatment of the attentional difficulties is currently being investigated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-329
Number of pages33
JournalDevelopmental Neuropsychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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