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Epilepsia. 2006;47 Suppl 2:14-8.

Learning disorders in epilepsy.

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Department of Clinical Psychiatry, University of Milano-Bicocca, San Gerardo Hospital, Monza, Italy.


Learning disorders (LD) are disorders interfering with academic performance or with daily living activities requiring reading, writing, or mathematical abilities in subjects with a normal intelligence quotient. The prevalence of LD in the general population has been found to be 2-10% and reading disorders are the most frequent subtype. Epilepsy is one of the commonest neurological disorders in childhood with an estimated prevalence in 4-5/1,000. Epilepsy is considered to be idiopathic or cryptogenic in approximately two-thirds of cases. LD are more common in people with epilepsy than in the general population: about 25% of patients with epilepsy are said to have LD. Various psychosocial, medication-related, and epilepsy-related factors may be associated with LD in epilepsy. LD can be either permanent or state-dependent. Permanent LD are caused by a brain lesion and/or a stable brain dysfunction. In contrast, state-dependent LD are potentially reversible and treatable; they are caused by epilepsy-related factors. If allowed to persist for a long period, a state-dependent LD may become permanent.

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