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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2001 Jun;40(6):696-703.

Aggression and psychiatric comorbidity in children with hypothalamic hamartomas and their unaffected siblings.

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1
Catholic University, Wshington, DC, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess aggression and psychiatric comorbidity in a sample of children with hypothalamic hamartomas and gelastic seizures and to assess psychiatric diagnoses in siblings of study subjects.

METHOD:

Children with a clinical history of gelastic seizures and hypothalamic hamartomas (n = 12; age range 3-14 years) had diagnoses confirmed by video-EEG and head magnetic resonance imaging. Structured interviews were administered, including the Diagnostic Interview for Children and Adolescents-Revised Parent Form (DICA-R-P), the Test of Broad Cognitive Abilities, and the Vitiello Aggression Scale. Parents were interviewed with the DICA-R-P about each subject and a sibling closest in age without seizures and hypothalamic hamartomas. Patients were seen from 1998 to 2000.

RESULTS:

Children with gelastic seizures and hypothalamic hamartomas displayed a statistically significant increase in comorbid psychiatric conditions, including oppositional defiant disorder (83.3%) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (75%). They also exhibited high rates of conduct disorder (33.3%), speech retardation/learning impairment (33.3%), and anxiety and mood disorders (16.7%). Significant rates of aggression were noted, with 58% of the seizure patients meeting criteria for the affective subtype of aggression and 30.5% having the predatory aggression subtype. Affective aggression was significantly more common (p < .05). Unaffected siblings demonstrated low rates of psychiatric pathology on semistructured parental interview and no aggression as measured by the Vitiello Aggression Scale.

CONCLUSIONS:

Children with hypothalamic hamartomas and gelastic seizures had high rates of psychiatric comorbidity and aggression. Parents reported that healthy siblings had very low rates of psychiatric pathology and aggression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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