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Dev Med Child Neurol. 2007 Jul;49(7):487-92.

Behavior and social competency in idiopathic and cryptogenic childhood epilepsy.

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Department of Biology, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA.


Behavioral and related disorders are frequently reported in association with childhood epilepsy but the reasons for this are unclear. In a long-term prospective, community-based study of newly-diagnosed childhood epilepsy, behavioral assessments (Child Behavior Checklist) were performed in children 8 to 9 years after the initial diagnosis of epilepsy to determine the impact of remission and medication status on behavioral problems. Children with epilepsy were also compared with sibling controls. A total of 226 children (108 females, 118 males; mean age 13y 1mo [SD 2y 8mo], range 8-17y) with idiopathic or cryptogenic epilepsy were included in the analyses. One hundred and twenty-eight matched pairs were included in analyses of case-sibling differences. Lack of remission and current medication use were associated with worse behavioral problem and competency scores. Lack of remission generally had a greater effect than medication use, except for attention problems; medication status had the more deleterious effect (p<0.001). Children with epilepsy had significantly worse behavioral problems and competency scores relative to sibling controls. Even in paris in which the patient was seizure-free and off medication, significant case-sibling differences persisted for most scales (p=0.05 to p=0.001). Lack of remission and continued use of antiepileptic drugs have a negative influence on behavioral problems in children with epilepsy but do not fully explain the worse scores relative to siblings. This suggests an independent effect associated with the epilepsy itself.

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