Children with epilepsy at higher risk for mood and behavior disorders

Children with epilepsy are at high risk for depression, anxiety, and behavioral functioning disorders. Mood and behavior are known to change or improve in children following epilepsy surgery, but research is inconsistent concerning the extent of the change.

The results of a collaborative study of 101 pediatric epilepsy surgery patients were reported today at the American Epilepsy Society (AES) 67th Annual meeting. The study, by a collaborative team of investigators from the Cleveland Clinic and University of Pittsburgh, examined changes in mood, anxiety, and behavioral functioning following epilepsy surgery in children 5 to 16 years of age and examined the role of surgical site (frontal / temporal) and hemisphere (left / right) in these outcomes. (Platform B.06 / Abstract 1738780 - Mood and Behavior Outcomes Following Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery.)

Children in the study and their primary caregivers completed standardized questionnaires that measure emotional and behavioral functioning. To determine the nature and extent of change, these measures were administered prior to surgery and again approximately ten months later. An analysis of each child's change scores revealed clinically significant improvements in postoperative mood, anxiety, and behavior in a substantial portion of the children.

"We were pleased to discover that children generally experience improvements in mood and behavior following epilepsy surgery," said lead author Elizabeth Andresen, Ph.D., of the Cleveland Clinic. "While children with frontal lobe epilepsy had greater symptoms of depression and anxiety before surgery than children with temporal lobe epilepsy, these symptoms improved significantly following surgery to levels comparable to or below the temporal lobe group. Interestingly, these relationships were most apparent in children who underwent left-sided surgeries."

The research report has received this year's AES Rebecca Goldberg Kaufman Award. The award is given to the highest ranked research of significance in the area of psychosocial aspects of epilepsy selected from among scientific reports presented at the AES annual meeting.


American Epilepsy Society (AES)



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