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Brain Dev. 2006 Mar;28(2):122-30. Epub 2005 Sep 19.

Reading abilities and cognitive functions of children with epilepsy: influence of epileptic syndrome.

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Unité de Neurologie Pédiatrique, Hôpital des Enfants, 330 av de Grande Bretagne-TSA, 31059 Toulouse Cedex, France.


Children with epilepsy are at risk of developing learning disorders. To explore the influence of the epileptic syndrome on reading abilities, we have compared the neuropsychological profile of 12 children with benign idiopathic epilepsy with rolandic spikes, 10 with temporal lobe epilepsy and 12 with idiopathic generalized epilepsy. Children underwent a selection of standardised tests designed to assess: oral language, reading, short-term memory, attention and behavioural adjustment. Analysis of variance was adjusted according to age of onset of the epileptic syndrome, duration of the syndrome, and performance IQ for each group. Children with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) had significantly lower scores for reading speed and comprehension, but epileptic variables (the age of onset of epilepsy, duration and activity of epilepsy) had influenced academic performances. In the TLE group there was a clear effect of the topography of the epileptic foci (left-side TLE vs. right-side TLE) on reading profile. Furthermore, the effect of epileptic syndromes was found in phonological, semantic and verbal working memory deficits in the TLE group. To a lesser extent children with idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE) also exhibit cognitive deficit. The results of the present study lend support to epilepsy-specific patterns of neuropsychological dysfunction in children that should be considered to improve remediation of academic underachievement in these populations.

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