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J Neuropsychol. 2010 Mar;4(Pt 1):71-87. doi: 10.1348/174866409X451465. Epub 2009 Jun 18.

Neurocognitive functioning of preschool children with uncomplicated epilepsy.

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Department of Psychology, University of Tampere, Finland.


Only few studies are available on the cognitive functioning of preschool children with uncomplicated epilepsy. The aim of this study was to describe the neurocognitive functioning of 3-6-year-old children with uncomplicated epilepsy. A subgroup of children with uncomplicated epilepsy from a population based cohort of preschool children with active epilepsy (N=64) participated in the study. The neurocognitive functioning of these children (N=13) was compared to that of matched healthy controls (N=13). The Wechsler's Primary and Preschool Scale of Intelligence - Revised and the Developmental Neuropsychological Assessment were administered. The intellectual functioning of the children with uncomplicated epilepsy was within normal range, but differed significantly from that of healthy controls, which was contrary to expectations. Statistically significant differences emerged between the study and the control group in Verbal IQ and Full Scale IQ, but no differences were found in Performance IQ. The children with uncomplicated epilepsy also had minor neurocognitive difficulties in verbal short-term memory (p<.01) compared to healthy children. The result suggests that uncomplicated epilepsy in preschool children may interfere with language and verbal short-term memory functions. Further studies with detailed neuropsychological assessments and follow-up time are needed to gain more insight into the developmental course of children with uncomplicated epilepsy. Also, because of the developmental risks reported in this study, psychological screening and detailed neuropsychological assessment are recommended in clinical practice.

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