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Temporal lobe epilepsy linked to depression in children

Temporal lobe epilepsy linked to depression in children

Added: 28 May 2013, 11:46

A new study has shown that children with temporal lobe epilepsy are more prone to psychiatric illness, particularly depression and behavioural problems.

The study assessed 40 children, aged from 6 to 17, whose epilepsy didn’t respond to anti- epileptic medication.  It compared children who had seizures in the temporal lobe to those whose seizures were elsewhere in the brain.  The study found that almost 80% of children with temporal lobe epilepsy had psychiatric and behavioural problems.  This was far greater than other types of childhood epilepsy, where 20 to 40% of children were found to have these symptoms.  In addition to this, the children who had temporal lobe seizures were more likely to have significant behavioural problems and depression than children with other types of epilepsy.

The link between temporal lobe epilepsy and depression was made in adults a few years ago, but this is the first study to look at children.  The doctor who led the study, Jay Salpekar, said that “In children who do not respond to drug therapy, epilepsy surgery may be the only option to improve their quality of life. Understanding the post-surgery paediatric patients’ mental health status is important, as the severity of psychiatric illness may impact the overall risk-benefit of epilepsy surgery, and may also inform post-surgery behavioural care management.

“With intractable epilepsy, parents and patients have complex decisions to make, not only in considering surgery but also in considering mental health complications of epilepsy.  This study adds to our understanding and will help us support families in providing comprehensive care for their child.

Ref:  Epilepsia. 2013 May 10. doi: 10.1111/epi.12205