When Epilepsy Occurs In Childhood

Poor memory in children with epilepsy linked to lower health related quality of life

(RxWiki News) Memory is often an area of concern for people with epilepsy. For children who are just learning about the world around them, memory can be of particular importance to their physical, mental, emotional and social development.

A recent study investigated the link between memory and health-related quality of life - or how overall well-being is affected over time by disease, disability or other health issues - in children with epilepsy.

The study found that verbal, emotional difficulty and behavioral problems were associated with a lower health-related quality of life more than other factors, including frequent and intense seizures.

"Ask your neurologist how you can best manage childhood epilepsy."

Marianne Hrabok, PhD, of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Insititute in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and colleagues studied 90 children with epilepsy at a children’s hospital.

The number and frequency of seizures in the children varied. Thirty-seven percent of children had fewer than one seizure a month while 15 percent had more than one seizure a day.

Verbal skills and health-related quality of life assessments were examined. The researchers also looked at intellectual function, executive function, behavior and ability to adapt.

Details on socio-demographic factors and neurological status were included in the study.

Gender, age and socioeconomic status are examples of socio-demographic factors. Number of antiepileptic drugs and seizure severity are examples of neurological status.

The researchers found that health-related quality of life was not associated with socio-demographic and neurologic factors.

However, neuropsychological factors - including verbal memory, IQ, executive function, emotional and behavioral function and adaptability - were associated with health-related quality of life. Memory, emotional function and behavioral function had a particular relationship to health-related quality of life.

Those with low verbal memory had a two times greater risk of low health-related quality of life than those who did not have low verbal memory. Those with emotional and behavioral difficulty had a 10 times greater risk of low health-related quality life than those without the difficulty.

Having both low verbal memory and emotional and behavioral difficulty resulted in a risk 17 times greater than not having those difficulties.

The study authors believe these results showed the importance in neuropsychological assessment. Identifying those with poor memory and emotional function could help doctors identify those more likely to have a low health-related quality of life.

The authors suggested that psychosocial interventions for children with epilepsy include a team of health professionals with varying disciplines, an emphasis on involvement of the parents, psychological education, cognitive and behavioral strategies and the development of coping skills. Past studies have shown that a six-week program that includes these factors can improve health-related quality of life.

The study was published in Pediatrics. The research received no external funding. The authors did not report any conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
February 14, 2013