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Epilepsia. 2011 May;52(5):849-56. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2011.03057.x. Epub 2011 Apr 11.

Cognitive and behavioral complications of frontal lobe epilepsy in children: a review of the literature.

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Department of Neurology, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, The Netherlands.


Frontal lobe epilepsy (FLE) is considered the second most common type of the localization-related epilepsies of childhood. Still, the etiology of FLE in children, its impact on cognitive functioning and behavior, as well as the response to antiepileptic drug treatment in children has not been sufficiently studied. This review focuses on these aspects of FLE in childhood, and reveals that FLE in childhood is most often cryptogenic, and impacts on a broad range of cognitive functions. The nature and severity of cognitive deficits are highly variable, although impaired attention and executive functions are most frequent. Young age at seizure onset is the only potential risk factor for poor cognitive outcome that has been consistently reported. The behavioral disturbances associated with FLE are also highly variable, although attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder seems most frequent. In 40% of children with FLE satisfactory seizure control could not be achieved. This is a higher percentage than reported for the general population of children with epilepsy. Therefore, pediatric FLE, even if cryptogenic in nature, is frequently complicated by impairment of cognitive function, behavioral disturbances, and therapy-resistance. Given the impact of these complications, there is a need for studies of the etiology of frontal lobe epilepsy-associated cognitive and behavioral disturbances, as well as pharmacotherapy-resistance.

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