Primary Generalized Epilepsy And Its Psycho-Educational Concommitants

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Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




The relationship of seizure disorder to intellectual and cognitive processing deficits has been an issue of both controversy and concern. The concern has been particularly intense with regard to childhood seizure disorders where even subtle cognitive/performance deficits might impede the normal developmental processes of cognition and academic achievement. It is difficult to articulate any general or universal principles regarding cognition and childhood seizure disorders. This difficulty arises from many factors, the most important of which have been: (a) samples in which the seizure phenomena have been inconsistently or poorly defined; (b) samples in which major categories of seizure disorder have been mixed together; (c) inadequate comparison/control groups against which to evaluate the epileptic child's performance; (d) failure to consistently evaluate parameters of the disorders such as seizure frequency, age of onset and type of chemotherapeutic regime.The present study assessed the cognitive and psycho-educational performance of children within a single major seizure category, primary generalized seizures. It compared their performance with that of non-seizure siblings and it evaluated further the influence of seizure frequency, age of onset, type of medication, gender, and subtype of primary generalized seizure (tonic-clonic and absence).Seizure disorder children were found to perform generally less well than their siblings with respect to general intelligence, attention-vigilance, visual-motor integration and academic fundamentals.No differential effect on performance was found as a function of gender, age of onset, seizure frequency, type of medication or subcategory of primary generalized seizure. A severity index incorporating both age of onset and seizure frequency did reflect poorer attentional-vigilance performance and poorer academic performance among the more severe seizure disorder group.These findings are discussed within the context of prior research on various seizure samples.


Psychology, Clinical

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