BACKGROUND: Interictal epileptiform discharges (IEDs) have been proven to impair cognitive function. However, it is not clear whether IEDs disrupt academic performance in children with idiopathic epilepsy, and the contribution of cognitive function deficits to impaired academic performance has not been clarified. This study aimed to examine the cognitive deficits and academic impairment in childhood idiopathic epilepsy with IEDs.
METHODS: Ninety-seven childhood idiopathic epilepsy with IEDs, 77 childhood idiopathic epilepsy without IEDs, and 71 healthy controls completed a series of cognitive tests. We analyzed the cognitive performance in several domains including language, mathematics, psychomotor speed, spatial ability, memory, general intelligence, attention and executive functioning. Analysis of variance was conducted to compare the performance on all tests between the three groups.
RESULTS: Childhood idiopathic epilepsy with IEDs exhibited not only general cognitive deficits in processing speed, spatial ability, and attention, but also arithmetic impairment. Furthermore, general cognitive deficits could account for the impaired arithmetic performance in childhood idiopathic epilepsy with IEDs.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggested that IEDs in children with idiopathic epilepsy affected both cognitive function and academic performance, and that the cognitive deficits may be responsible for arithmetic performance impairment.
Keywords: Academic performance Cognitive function Idiopathic epilepsy Interictal epileptiform discharges Neuropsychological tests