Cognition and Behaviour in Childhood Epilepsy
Childhood epilepsy is a multi-dimensional phenomenon that does not end with seizure control
For many parents of children with epilepsy, not only are the unpredictable seizures a major concern, but equally so are the frequently associated cognitive and behavioural problems. As clinicians, we often do not pay enough attention to these comorbidities, perhaps because we do not have a full understanding of their aetiology and treatment possibilities. Cognitive and behavioural comorbidities in childhood epilepsies are multifactorial: aetiology, seizure type and frequency, syndromic classification, age at onset of the epilepsy, EEG abnormalities and treatment (failure). The challenge is that we need to understand the exact burden of each individual factor.
The importance of the diverse contributing factors
In line with the modern approach to medicine, this disorder requires differentiation and personalization. Understanding the brain function and its development should be combined with recognizing the patient as an individual. It is important to consider the link between genetics, biology, physiology, antiepileptic drugs and the social context of the child and his or her family.
What is required is the prevention of cognitive decline and the development of specific treatment paradigms for the behavioural problems associated with childhood epilepsy.
* Excerpted from the book Cognition and Behaviour in Childhood Epilepsy edited by Lieven Lagae.
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