Children with new recent-onset juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) are more likely to have difficulty with executive, attention, and verbal faculties than their healthy peers and are also more likely to use a greater number of academic services, researchers found. Study findings were reported in Pediatric Neurology.

Children between the ages of 8 and 18 years with recent-onset JME and first-degree cousin controls were enrolled from pediatric neurology clinics in Midwestern medical centers. All patients underwent a neuropsychological assessment battery that tested attention span; executive, verbal, and perceptual abilities; and speed. Additionally, researchers performed a structured review of participants’ need for supportive academic services and reviewed parent reports of both behavior and executive function (Child Behavior Checklist [CBCL] and Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function [BRIEF]). The researchers also performed a structured psychiatric interview and diagnosis (Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia—Present and Lifetime Version [K-SADS]).

Individuals with JME had significantly lower scores compared with controls for attention (<.05), executive, (=.001), perceptual (<.001), speed (<.05), and verbal (<.05) areas. A significantly greater proportion of children with JME were also more likely to use a greater number of academic services (47% vs 19%, respectively; =.002) and to have more parent-reported behavioral problems as well as dysexecutive function with lower competence (<.001). Those with JME also demonstrated a higher rate of current Axis-I diagnoses, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depression, and anxiety vs the control group (54% vs 23%, respectively; =.001).

Limitations of the study include the small number of patients, its cross-sectional design, and the enrollment of patients from only 3 centers in the Midwest.


Source: Article by B. May for Neurology Advisor

Reference: Almane DN, Jones JE, McMillan A, et al. The timing, nature and range of neurobehavioral comorbidities in juvenile myoclonic epilepsy [published online March 18, 2019]. Pediatr Neurol. doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2019.03.011