Cognitive Disorders of Epilepsy

Cognitive Disorders are very common in epilepsy patients. Most cognitive complaints in adult patients are mental slowness, memory difficulties and attention deficits. In children, cognitive problems are more diffuse, responsible for verbal troubles, learning difficulties, poor academic outcome, behavior problems and finally unfortunate socio-professional prognosis. Timely diagnosis and treatment can help to reduce their impact on the patient's quality of life. AEDs during pregnancy may cause cognitive disorders in the child exposed to them in utero. Cognitive disorders can also present as a complication of surgery for refractory epilepsy. Special care must be taken to detect cognitive side effects associated with AEDs, which seem to be more common with classic than with new AEDs, and in those patients receiving polytherapy. Neuropsychological assessment should be routinely performed before epilepsy surgery to predict possible postsurgical cognitive deficits.

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