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Seizure. 2013 Dec;22(10):886-92. doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2013.08.002. Epub 2013 Aug 12.

Intellectual functioning in children with epilepsy: frontal lobe epilepsy, childhood absence epilepsy and benign epilepsy with centro-temporal spikes.

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Faculty of Psychology, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal; Neuropaediatric Unit - Garcia de Orta Hospital, Almada, Portugal. Electronic address:



The purpose of our study is to describe intellectual functioning in three common childhood epilepsy syndromes - frontal lobe epilepsy (FLE), childhood absence epilepsy (CAE) and benign epilepsy with centro-temporal spikes (BECTS). And also to determine the influence of epilepsy related variables, type of epilepsy, age at epilepsy onset, duration and frequency of epilepsy, and treatment on the scores.


Intellectual functioning was examined in a group of 90 children with epilepsy (30 FLE, 30 CAE, 30 BECTS), aged 6-15 years, and compared with a control group (30). All subjects obtained a Full Scale IQ ≥ 70 and they were receiving no more than two antiepileptic medications. Participants completed the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - Third Edition. The impact of epilepsy related variables (type of epilepsy, age at epilepsy onset, duration of epilepsy, seizure frequency and anti-epileptic drugs) on intellectual functioning was examined.


Children with FLE scored significantly worse than controls on WISC-III Verbal IQ, Full Scale IQ and Processing Speed Index. There was a trend for children with FLE to have lower intelligence scores than CAE and BECTS groups. Linear regression analysis showed no effect for age at onset, frequency of seizures and treatment. Type of epilepsy and duration of epilepsy were the best indicators of intellectual functioning.


It is crucial that children with FLE and those with a longer active duration of epilepsy are closely monitored to allow the early identification and evaluation of cognitive problems, in order to establish adequate and timely school intervention plans.


Benign epilepsy with centro-temporal spikes; Childhood absence epilepsy; Children; Duration of epilepsy; Frontal lobe epilepsy; Intelligence quotient; Processing speed; WISC-III

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