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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2006;30(1):85-96. Epub 2005 Aug 24.

Idiopathic epileptic syndromes and cognition.

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  • 1Service de Neurologie Hôpital Bretonneau, 37044 Tours, cedex, France. hommet@med.univ-tours.fr

Abstract

Epilepsy is frequently associated with cognitive impairments which result from various interacting factors. The present paper deals with the contribution of neuropsychology to the characterization of the type of epilepsy and the possible mechanisms underlying idiopathic epileptic syndromes. The non-lesional, so-called idiopathic epilepsies, constitute an interesting model for assessing the relationship between epileptiform EEG discharges and cognition. Among the idiopathic generalized epilepsies, disorders of social integration and personality have been frequently reported in juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME). Since similar disturbances are observed in frontal-lobe-lesioned patients, impairments in other frontal lobe functions (e.g. executive functions) might be expected in JME. This gives rise to speculation about the possible underlying pathophysiological mechanisms in JME. With regard to partial idiopathic epilepsies, benign childhood epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes (BCECTS) may provide a useful model for the study of the relationship between epileptiform EEG discharges in the peri-sylvian region and language functions. Furthermore, the description of mild cognitive dysfunctions in BCECTS, and their persistence into adulthood, can provide information about compensatory mechanisms and may allow for the generation of remedial strategies. Thus, 'lesional' neuropsychology has given way to 'dynamic' neuropsychology based on specific postulates. By using the cognitive profile to specify the mechanism underlying the behavioral disturbances observed in different types of epilepsy, neuropsychology may eventually contribute to a revision of the present classification of epileptic syndromes. In addition, the neuropsychological data may help predict the extent and limits of functional recovery and cerebral plasticity.

PMID:
16120462
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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