Epilepsy surgery for kids cuts seizures, ups IQ

A study on 50 preschool-aged children with epilepsy who underwent surgical treatment showed significant improvements on overall cognitive development and left many seizure-free. The article is published in the journal Epilepsia.

Researchers conducted this study on how children aged 3-7 years old developed intellectually in the few years following epilepsy surgery. While those with severe epilepsy are at high risk for significant mental handicap, data showed that those who became seizure free after surgery were able to develop better and may actually gain some abilities that they did not have before surgery.

“The questions answered in our study have a significant every day value for counseling parents whether their child should undergo epilepsy surgery,” states corresponding author, Ingrid Tuxhorn, MD.

Twelve months post-surgery, 82% of children showed stable improvements in development and three children showed gains of greater than 15 points in IQ. Gains in IQ were only observed in seizure-free children.

“This study on the long-term cognitive outcome of preschool children who had epilepsy surgery shows that children with a shorter duration of epilepsy, more localized etiologies, and a seizure-free outcome have the best chance for improving their cognitive function 2-3 years after a successful operation,” adds Tuxhorn. “The question [now] is to provide data to determine ideal timing of surgical treatment.”

About the Authors

Ingrid Tuxhorn, MD and co-authorHedwig Freitag, MD are editors of a book on Pediatric Epilepsy Syndromes and their Surgical Treatment and are continuing with clinical research on their outcome data which now spans 10 years. Their interests include quality of life studies and both are in the process of performing a long-term quality of life study of children who have had severe epilepsy treated at the Pediatric Epilepsy Comprehensive Care Unit at Bethel Epilepsy Center in Bielefeld, Germany. Dr. Tuxhorn can be reached for questions and interviews at [email protected].

From Epilepsia

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