Benign childhood epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes (BCECTS) is a well-known idiopathic age- and localization-related epileptic syndrome with characteristic clinical and EEG manifestations. Due to the reported benign evolution of this epilepsy syndrome, neuropsychological assessment has been considered unnecessary. However, the benign nature of BCECTS has recently been challenged: verbal dysfunction as well as impaired visuomotor coordination, specific learning disabilities, and attention deficit have been noticed. These findings prompted this research study in which all children with BCECTS attending our epilepsy clinic underwent neuropsychological assessment. Seventeen children (10 boys and seven girls) aged 7 to 14 years were investigated with a neuropsychological test battery focusing on immediate and delayed recall of auditory-verbal and visual material, verbal fluency, problem-solving ability, and visuospatial constructional ability. Raven's coloured matrices and questionnaires regarding school functioning and behaviour were also administered. The children were matched with control subjects for age, sex, and school. Children with BCECTS had significantly lower scores than their control subject partners on the neuropsychological items. Intellectual abilities did not differ and neither did school functioning or behaviour according to teachers. Parents, however, recognized greater difficulties with concentration, temperament, and impulsiveness in children with BCECTS.
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