Navigation Links
Teens of Epileptic Mothers May Lag Academically: Study

By Julia VanTine
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Teens born to women who took two or more epilepsy drugs while pregnant fared worse in school than peers with no prenatal exposure to those medications, a large Swedish study has found.

Also, teens born to epileptic mothers in general tended to score lower in several subjects, including math and English.

The findings support earlier research that linked prenatal exposure to epilepsy drugs, particularly valproic acid (brand names include Depakene and Depakote), to negative effects on a child's ability to process information, solve problems and make decisions.

"Our results suggest that exposure to several anti-epileptic drugs in utero may have a negative effect on a child's neurodevelopment," said study author Dr. Lisa Forsberg of Karolinska University Hospital.

The study was published online Nov. 4 in Epilepsia.

The study was retrospective, meaning that it looked backwards in time. Using national medical records and a study conducted by a local hospital, Forsberg and her team identified women with epilepsy who gave birth between 1973 and 1986, as well as those who used anti-epileptic drugs during pregnancy. The team then obtained records of children's school performance from a registry that provides grades for all students leaving school at 16, the age that mandatory education ends in Sweden.

The researchers identified 1,235 children born to epileptic mothers. Of those, 641 children were exposed to one anti-epileptic drug and 429 to two or more; 165 children had no known exposure to the medications.

The researchers then compared those children's school performance to that of all other children born in Sweden (more than 1.3 million) during that 13-year period.

The teens exposed to more than one anti-epileptic drug in the womb were less likely to get a final grade than those in the general population, said Forsberg. Not receiving a final grade generally means not attending general school because of mental deficits, she explained.

While teens exposed to only one anti-seizure medication did not show the same risk, they were less likely to pass with excellence. This may be the result of the influence of the anti-epileptic drug during fetal life, but it may also be the effect of factors related to epilepsy, such as genetic factors, social factors and the effect of the mother's seizures, said Forsberg. "Therefore, these data should be interpreted with caution."

Anti-epileptic medications besides valproic acid include phenytoin (such as Dilantin and Phenytek) and carbamazepine (such as Tegretol and Carbatrol). The study noted that compared to other anti-epileptic drugs, valproic acid during pregnancy seems to have a stronger negative influence on cognitive skills. However, Forsberg said that this study could not draw specific conclusions about valproic acid, since very few of the children studied were exposed to it.

There's also evidence that taking multiple anti-epileptic drugs can cause more harm than taking just one. That's why the American Academy of Neurology recommends taking just one during pregnancy, if possible, and trying medications other than valproic acid.

Dr. Jacqueline A. French, professor of neurology at NYU Langone Medical Center and director of the Clinical Trials Consortium at the NYU Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, said that the retrospective nature of the study made it difficult to control for unknowns that could have affected its findings. For example, the study could not factor in how often the mothers had seizures during their pregnancies or during critical early years of the child's life.

"I think that could have an impact on the child's development," said French. "We can't exclude the possibility that a woman on anti-epileptic drugs whose seizures are well controlled has just as much likelihood of having a child that excels as a woman who is not on the drugs."

Forsberg agreed, noting that most children exposed to anti-epileptic drugs do complete school, and that most children of epileptic mothers are born and remain healthy.

However, the study findings support current recommendations that pregnant women take just one anti-epileptic drug if possible, noted Forsberg. She also recommended that women with epilepsy plan their pregnancies. "That way, they and their doctors can come up with individual treatment plans that make the pregnancy safe for both mother and child," she said.

More information

To learn more about women and epilepsy, visit the Epilepsy Foundation.

SOURCES: Lisa Forsberg, M.D., Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden; Jacqueline A. French, M.D., professor, neurology, NYU Langone Medical Center, and director, Clinical Trials Consortium, NYU Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, New York City; Nov. 4, 2010, Epilepsia, online

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Teens of epileptic moms display poor school performance
2. For Many Teens, Oral Sex Leads to Riskier Activity
3. Study Finds Teens Late Night Media Use Comes at a Price
4. Half of Teens Treated for Depression Will Relapse: Study
5. Teens Should Get Meningitis Booster Shot: CDC Panel
6. Teens, Parents Often Lie About Illicit Drug Use
7. Binge Drinking, Pot Could Put Teens Intellect at Risk: Study
8. Weight-Loss Surgery for Teens May Be Gaining Advocates
9. 1 in 4 U.S. Teens and Young Adults Binge Drink: CDC
10. Anorexic Teens May Gain From Whole-Family Treatment
11. Study Finds Teens Think Sports Drinks Are Healthy
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Teens of Epileptic Mothers May Lag Academically: Study
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... "FCPX editors can now ... of Final Cut Pro X," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. ... Final Cut Pro X users can now reveal the media of their split ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... 27, 2016 , ... A revolution is underway. Brooklyn-based ... experience for the millions of people who require these medical transport services annually. ... through the use of technology. Now, SmartEMS has put forth an industry-changing app ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... , ... June 26, 2016 , ... On June 10-11, ... of the 2016 Cereal Festival and World’s Longest Breakfast Table in Battle Creek, MI, ... the city’s history as home to some of the world’s leading providers of cereal ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... Brent Kasmer, a legally blind and certified personal trainer ... through a fitness app. The fitness app plans to fix the two major problems leading ... a one size fits all type program , They don’t eliminate all the ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, can now turn to Dr. ... Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. Dorsey brings specialization to include ... in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was under the direction of Glenn ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) ... would allow biopharmaceutical companies to more easily share health ... and coverage decisions, a move that addresses the growing ... The recommendations address restrictions in the sharing of ... label, a prohibition that hinders decision makers from accessing ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 According ... by Type (Standard Pen Needles, Safety Pen Needles), Needle ... GLP-1, Growth Hormone), Mode of Purchase (Retail, Non-Retail) - ... This report studies the market for the forecast period ... reach USD 2.81 Billion by 2021 from USD 1.65 ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- MedSource announced today that it has selected Datatrial,s ... choice.  This latest decision demonstrates MedSource,s commitment to ... by offering a state-of-the-art electronic data capture (EDC) ... the EDC platform of choice in exchange for ... long been a preferred EDC platform by our ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: