Neuropsychological development in children belonging to BECTS spectrum: Long-term effect of epileptiform activity

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Benign epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes (BECTS) is an idiopathic focal epileptic syndrome in childhood. It is called "benign" because the seizure and cognitive outcomes are usually favorable, but a significant number of children with BECTS present heterogeneous cognitive deficits correlated to NREM sleep epileptiform discharges. The atypical evolutions of BECTS form a spectrum of conditions suggesting that slow sleep nocturnal interictal epileptiform discharges (IEDs) specifically determine the neuropsychological deficit.Few follow-up studies of neuropsychological outcome in BECTS are available, and very often, slow sleep has not been recorded throughout night sleep. The present study analyzed the long-term effects of IEDs during NREM sleep on neuropsychological development in children with rolandic spikes. Thirty-three children with a diagnosis of BECTS were monitored for at least two years. Results show that these children are at higher risk for residual verbal difficulties, and the abnormal neuropsychological development is significantly correlated with a greater frequency of NREM sleep discharges, school-age epilepsy onset, and a higher number of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). The findings are discussed in terms of how slow sleep IEDs affect the consolidation of verbal skills during critical epochs of neuropsychological development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)504-511
Number of pages8
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013


  • BECTS spectrum
  • Neuropsychological follow-up
  • NREM sleep IED
  • Verbal skills

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neurology


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