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Cognitive impairment seen in preschool children with epilepsy
Date:6/2/2011

A recent study has shown that cognitive impairment is evident early on in preschool children with epilepsy, consistent with results of similar studies in older children. Age of onset of first seizure is a significant predictor of cognitive impairment according to this studythe first to evaluate cognitive impairment in children age three to six. The report is available in Epilepsia, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE).

Epilepsy is characterized by recurrent seizures that range from mild staring spells to major convulsions, and frequently develops in early childhood. Studies have found that in the U.S. alone there are more than 325,000 children under the age of 15 who are diagnosed with epilepsy, with 45,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Medical evidence further suggests that early onset of seizures is a significant factor contributing to cognitive impairment in children.

For the present study, researchers reviewed medical data and psychological evaluations for 64 preschool children (3 to 6.11 years old) with active epilepsy in order to determine the frequency of cognitive impairment and the epilepsy-related factors contributing to the impairment. Children in the study group had a mean age of five, with seizure onset between 0 and 75 months. "Our study is the first to examine cognitive performance in preschool children with epilepsy," said lead researcher Kati Rantanen, a PhD candidate at the University of Tampere in Finland.

The study showed that the prevalence of epilepsy was roughly 3 per 1,000 children, which is consistent with prior studies in Finland and other developed countries. The team identified 27 children with focal seizures, 31 with generalized seizures, and 6 with unclassified seizure types. More than half of the children (64%) were receiving monotherapy of an anti-epileptic drug for seizure control. The seizures were well-controlled in 37% of chi
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Contact: Dawn Peters
healthnews@wiley.com
781-388-8408
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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