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Dev Med Child Neurol. 2005 Feb;47(2):126-32.

Cognitive function in idiopathic generalized epilepsy of childhood.

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  • 1Department of Communication Disorders, The Chaim Sheba Medical Centre, Tel Hashomer, 52621 Israel.


This study evaluated the cognitive profiles of children with idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE), uniformly treated with valproic acid with well-controlled seizures. Twenty-four were neuropsychologically evaluated. They comprised: 14 females, 10 males: 12 with generalized tonic-clonic seizures (GTCS), mean age 14y 4mo, SD ly 7mo, range 12y to 16y 4 mo; 12 with absence seizures (AS]) mean age 14y 5mo, SD ly 10mo, range 11y to 16y 4mo, with intellectual abilities within the normal range and age-appropriate scholastic skills, and 20 healthy controls (12 females, 8 males; mean age 14y 5mo, SD 1y 10mo, range 10y 7mo to 16y 7mo). As a group, children with IGE performed significantly poorer in all tests (non-verbal and verbal attention, verbal learning and memory, word fluency, and controlled sequential fine motor responses) excluding non-verbal memory. Analysis according to type of seizure revealed that both patient groups (AS and GTCS) had an attention deficit, whereas only children with AS showed deficits in verbal learning and memory, word fluency, and controlled fine motor responses. These results suggest a long-term risk of learning impairment for children with IGE, even if they have normal intelligence and their seizures are well controlled.

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