Clinical and electroencephalographic correlates of psychiatric features in children with frontal lobe epilepsy

Chiara Ticci, Teresa Luongo, Giulia Valvo, Anna Rita Ferrari, Paola Brovedani, Gabriele Masi, Simona Pellacani, Federico Sicca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and objective: Frontal lobe epilepsy (FLE) is often associated with psychiatric features, although the factors predisposing to the concurrence of these conditions have yet to be determined, especially in younger children. We aimed at defining possible clinical and electroencephalography (EEG) features that may enhance the psychiatric risk in pediatric FLE. Method: We performed a structured psychiatric assessment of 59 children with FLE, using both categorical and dimensional approaches, correlated psychopathology with epilepsy data, and cognitive development. Results: About 1/3 of patients with FLE displayed intellectual disability (ID), and more than 2/3 displayed psychiatric disorders, including depression, disruptive behaviors, anxiety, and bipolar/psychotic disorders. Psychiatric dimensions such as impulse control problems, attentional deficits, social problems, and aggressive behaviors were frequent features of FLE. Intellectual disability was associated with an earlier onset of psychiatric disorders and more frequent disruptive behavior disorders and aggressiveness. Long-standing epilepsy and bilateral or anterior frontal EEG abnormalities also increased the risk of psychopathology. Finally, right-hemisphere lesions were associated with disruptive behavior disorders, fast EEG rhythms with attention/memory problems, and phases of seizure remission with impulse control problems. Conclusions: Clinical and EEG markers of increased psychopathological risk may help in defining consistent at-risk subgroups within FLE and improving early diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment. Categorical and dimensional approaches to psychiatric diagnosis may generate new research hypotheses and support the investigation of the complex pathophysiological bases shared by different neurodevelopmental disturbances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-289
Number of pages7
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • EEG
  • Epilepsy
  • Frontal lobe
  • Psychopathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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