The Neuropsychology of Epilepsy

Overview and Psychosocial Aspects
  • Patricia L. Hartlage
  • Lawrence C. Hartlage
Part of the Critical Issues in Neuropsychology book series (CINP)


Although estimates of the prevalence of childhood epilepsy in the United States vary, review of a number of epidemiological studies suggests that this condition may affect up to one million children (Hartlage & Telzrow, 1984). Children with epilepsy (recurrent seizures), like all children, differ from one another on a variety of dimensions; however, children with epilepsy are subject to three conditions that contribute to increased variability. Two of these conditions are primarily neuropsychological in nature. One involves the fact that epilepsy may be symptomatic of some type of brain dysfunction, and such factors as locus, extent, type, age of acquisition, and resultant seizure manifestations may each or in combination have implications for how the child’s adaptive behavior may be affected. Another neuropsychological condition involves the effects of anticonvulsant drug therapy on the child’s development or manifestation of adaptive behavior. The third condition represents an interaction between such social factors as the reactions of the child’s parents, peers, and teachers; the neuropsychological substrates of appropriate adaptation to the requirements of given ages; and the effects of anticonvulsant medication on both peer response and the child’s potential for utilization of underlying neuropsychological assets. Although for a given child with epilepsy these three conditions are likely to be interactive, it may be helpful to overview each condition as a separate entity before attempting to address the more complex issues involved in the interactions of these conditions.


Temporal Lobe Epilepsy Seizure Type Infantile Spasm Anticonvulsant Medication Lennox Gastaut Syndrome 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia L. Hartlage
    • 1
  • Lawrence C. Hartlage
    • 2
  1. 1.Section of Child NeurologyMedical College of GeorgiaAugustaUSA
  2. 2.Augusta Neuropsychology CenterEvansUSA

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