Author(s): Iloeje SO, Paed FM
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Abstract Of 580 epileptic children, 353 males and 227 females, seen at the Paediatric Neurology Clinic of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Enugu, from 1985 to 1987, 18 per cent were mentally retarded, a much higher prevalence rate than in the general population. Nine different seizure types were seen, with generalized tonic-clonic seizures (grand mal) leading in frequency. The highest incidence of mental retardation occurred among the children with infantile spasms (51 per cent). For all the seizure types, there was a long delay in seeking medical attention (mean interval, 1.7 years). The mean interval for epileptics with mental retardation was even higher (2.77 years). Factors found to increase the chances of an epileptic child having mental retardation include episodes of status epilepticus, early age at onset of seizures, and long delay before presentation to hospital for treatment. There is need for increased efforts aimed at the elimination of these factors and also for a well organized programme to educate the population about the nature of epilepsy, and the importance of compliance with the treatment schedule.
This article was published in J Trop Pediatr
and referenced in Epilepsy Journal