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Is Epilepsy a Cause of Cognitive Decline in Developing Brain

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Epilepsy is a chronic noncommunicable disorder of the brain that affects people of all ages. Around 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy (WHO, 2012). 45,000 children under the age of 15, develop epilepsy each year (Epilepsy Foundation, 2010). Lower income was, however, associated with a higher incidence of epilepsy in all ethnic groups (Benn, et al., 2008). Neuropsychological impairment is an important co-morbidity of chronic epilepsy (Elger et al., 2004). Recent investigations have focused on the cumulative neurobiological burden associated with epilepsy and the risk of progressive cognitive impairment, but none have studied the effect of epilepsy on cognition on the developing brain, from India so far. Hence, the aim of the study was to study the effect of the temporal and extra temporal epilepsy on the cognitive functioning of children aged 7–12 years. Methodology: a cross-sectional study was carried out with a sample of 52 consenting children with an history of seizure (the 1st seizure occurred at least three months back i.e. the problem of seizure disorder was at least three months old) of neuropsychological assessment of epilepsy were administered with standardized neuropsychological tests, namely (Gesell’s Drawing Test- by Verma et al., 1972, PGI-Memory Scale for children- by Kohli et al., 1998) Results indicated significant findings in nine areas of neuropsychological functioning, namely immediate recall (p=0.001), followed by delayed recall (p=0.001), attention and concentration (p=0.001), recent memory (p=0.001), remote memory (p=0.001), visual retention (p=0.001), retention for similar pairs (p=0.001), mental balance (p=0.001), recognition (p=0.001) as compared to controls. Conclusion: results show that epilepsy does have a significant effect on cognition of children. However, a larger cohort study needs to be carried out to make substantiate claims.


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Correspondence to Ashima Nehra.

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Nehra, A., Tripathi, M., Bhatia, R. et al. Is Epilepsy a Cause of Cognitive Decline in Developing Brain. Act Nerv Super 55, 112–117 (2013).

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Key words

  • Cognition
  • Epilepsy
  • Epidemiology
  • India
  • Memory
  • Neuropsychology