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Neuropsychologia. 2002;40(4):384-400.

Deficits in executive functions and motor coordination in children with frontal lobe epilepsy.

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  • 1Groupe de Recherche en Neuropsychologie Expérimentale, Département de Psychologie, Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128, Succursale Centre-Ville, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3C 3J7.


Frontal lobe dysfunction in adults has been associated with impairments of planning abilities, working memory, impulse control, attention and certain aspects of motor coordination. However, very few studies have attempted to assess these functions in children suffering from frontal lobe epilepsy. The aim of the present study was to determine whether some or all of the components of the frontal lobe syndrome are present in children with this disorder. For this purpose, a neuropsychological test battery was administered to 32 unresected epileptic children, aged 8-16 years: 16 with frontal lobe epilepsy (FLE), eight with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) and eight with generalized epilepsy whose principal manifestations were typical absences (GEA). The performances of the three epileptic groups were further compared to normative data derived from 200 French-speaking, healthy children aged 7-16 years, except for standardized tests for which the norms provided in the manual were used. The three epilepsy groups did not differ with respect to conceptual shift and recency memory. However, the FLE children showed deficits in planning and impulse control. Furthermore, they had significantly more coordination problems and exhibited greater rigidity than the other epilepsy groups on the motor tests. These problems were more marked in younger FLE children (8-12 years). The latter were also more impaired on verbal fluency measures. No differences were observed with respect to gender, localization of the epileptic abnormality (unilateral versus bilateral) or medication (monotherapy versus polytherapy). The findings reveal similarities between the neuropsychological profiles of FLE children and adults with frontal lobe lesions.

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