EVALUATION OF LEARNING DIFFICULTIES IN EPILEPTIC CHILDREN WITH IDIOPATHIC GENERALIZED EPILEPSY AND WELL-CONTROLLED SEIZURES
INTRODUCTION: Children with symptomatic epilepsy have more learning difficulties (LDs) than those with idiopathic or cryptogenic epilepsies. However, there is little information on the prevalence of LDs in well-defined pediatric epileptic populations.
OBJECTIVE: Our goal was to evaluate LDs in epileptic children.
METHODS: We evaluated LDs in 37 epileptic children (18 boys and 19 girls; mean age: 8.29 ± 1.00 years) who had idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE) and were being treated with sodium-valproate monotherapy (22 with generalized tonic-clonic seizures and 15 with absence epilepsy). The mean duration of epilepsy and treatment was 3.48 ± 1.88 and 2.96 ± 1.80 years, respectively. All children attended mainstream schools, and their seizures were well controlled (without seizures for at least 6 months). We used the Athina Test for the Diagnosis of Learning Difficulties, a test that is partly based on the Illinois Test of Psycholinguistic Abilities, standardized in healthy Greek children.
RESULTS: Children with IGE performed significantly poorer in all subtests except the auditory closure subtest (Table 1). No significant difference was found between the 2 subgroups. A negative correlation was found between disease duration and the score in auditory memory (r = −0.368; P = .025).
CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest an increased risk of LDs in children with IGE and well-controlled seizures. Early detection of the cognitive impact of IGE and subsequent intervention are needed to prevent educational underachievement.
- Copyright © 2008 by the American Academy of Pediatrics