Educational problems with underlying neuropsychological impairment are common in children with Benign Epilepsy of Childhood with Centrotemporal Spikes (BECTS)

Author(s): Vinayan KP, Biji V, Thomas SV


Introduction:Benign Epilepsy of Childhood with Centrotemporal Spikes (BECTS) is one of the most common childhood epilepsies with a good prognosis regarding the seizure and neuropsychological outcomes. However, recent reports indicate the presence of neuropsychological problems in a significant percentage of children with BECTS. Our study was aimed to examine the educational performance and neuropsychological functions along with clinical and electrographic characteristics in a cohort of children with BECTS.

Methods:We identified a cohort of children with BECTS by screening medical and EEG recordings of patients attending our institute. Data were collected with a standard protocol. Their educational performance was evaluated by an interview with the parents. Neuropsychological and language tests were administered to children who had educational problems. Statistical analysis was done using the chi2-test.

Results:Fifty children (29 boys and 21 girls; mean age of onset of epilepsy 7.84+/-2.87 years) who met the criteria for BECTS were included in this study. Atypical seizure characteristics for BECTS were observed in 26 (52%) children. EEG showed typical centrotemporal spike and wave discharges in all children, 42% of them had a tangential dipole in the frontocentral region. An additional extra-rolandic focus in the EEG was found in seven children (14%). Educational problems were identified in 27 children (54%); 19 of them had neuropsychological or language impairment (p=0.003). We found a statistically significant correlation between the occurrence of educational problems and the absence of a tangential dipole in the EEG (p<0.001). Abnormal language function had a significant correlation with atypical seizure semiology (p=0.021).

Conclusion:This study shows that a significant number of children with BECTS have neuropsychological impairment and educational problems.

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