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Rev Neurol. 2005 Jan 15;40 Suppl 1:S3-10.

[Neurodevelopmental disorders and epilepsy].

[Article in Spanish]

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  • 1Dan Marino Center, Weston, FL, USA.



Neurodevelopmental disorders and the epilepsies share common etiologies and pathologies. The severity of impairment and the variety of symptoms associated with neurodevelopmental disorders or with particular epilepsy syndromes reflect focal or global, structural or functional dysfunction of neuronal networks. The complex relationship between neurodevelopmental disorders and epilepsy is secondary to common factors that include genetics, cognition, motor and language function. The epileptic encephalopathies are associated with regression or slowing of cognitive, language or behavior and the accepted working hypothesis is that this is a direct consequence of the seizures or of the interictal epileptiform activity, as opposed to the associated medical condition. The evidence that recurrent seizures or abnormal electrical activity can cause specific cognitive, language or behavioral abnormalities even in accepted epileptic encephalopathies is still controversial. Data from animal studies and the clinical experience from epileptic encephalopathies of early life imply that there are developmental time windows crucial to the type of epilepsy syndrome and to cognitive and behavioral outcome.


The management of children in whom a neurodevelopmental disorder coexists with epilepsy is a difficult problem that requires a multidisciplinary approach that addresses both the epilepsy and the specific cognitive or behavioral problem and is tailored to the needs of the individual child.

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