Mental retardation and behavioural disturbances related to epilepsy: A review

R. Michelucci, A. Forti, G. Rubboli, R. Plasmati, L. Volpi, C. A. Tassinari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The relationships between mental retardation and epilepsy are reviewed. The first approach was to consider the prevalence of epilepsy in children with mental retardation. The prevalence rate for epilepsy is significantly higher in mentally impaired children, rising up to 50% in subjects with profound mental retardation (IQ <20). The second approach was to study the prevalence of mental retardation and cognitive dysfunction in patients with epilepsy. Evidence suggests that a minority of patients with long-standing epilepsy show progressive mental deterioration. The possible reasons for this dysfunction include the type of epilepsy and its etiology, and early age at onset of seizures, the severity and frequency of seizures and status epilepticus, anticonvulsant medication. All these variables are discussed in detail. Special emphasis is given to electrical status epilepticus during slow sleep, which is a recently recognized condition of childhood, often associated with behavioural disturbances, and intellectual or language impairment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-9
Number of pages7
JournalBrain Dysfunction
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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