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Hum Brain Mapp. 2011 Apr;32(4):580-91. doi: 10.1002/hbm.21045.

Effects of childhood absence epilepsy on associations between regional cortical morphometry and aging and cognitive abilities.

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  • 1Center for Imaging Neurodegenerative Diseases, San Francisco, California, USA.


In this study, we used surface-based morphometry to examine whether age-related changes in gray matter tissue thickness and depth of sulcal regions at high spatial resolution across the cortex differed in children with childhood absence epilepsy (CAE) compared to healthy control subjects. In addition, the possibility of variable brain-cognition relationships in the CAE compared to the control group was investigated. The main findings of this study are as follows: (1) From the developmental perspective, children with CAE did not demonstrate the normal regional age-related changes involving a decrease in cortical thickness and increase in sulcal depth. (2) None of the seizure variables, including age of onset, seizure frequency, and AEDs had a significant effect on the association between age and cortical morphometry measures in the CAE population. (3) Even though the CAE group had mean VIQ and PIQ scores in the average range, our findings suggest that they use different brain regions to perform these cognitive functions compared to healthy controls. This first study on brain morphometry and cognition in children with childhood absence seizures has important implications for advancing our understanding of brain development and cognitive comorbidity in CAE, as well as for revisiting the clinical notion that CAE is a benign disorder.

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