Systematic review of executive functions in children with self-limited epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes

Martina Paola Zanaboni, Costanza Varesio, Ludovica Pasca, Annalisa Foti, Martina Totaro, Massimiliano Celario, Livio Provenzi, Valentina De Giorgis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Self-limited Epilepsy with Centrotemporal Spikes (ECTS) is a self-limiting childhood epilepsy with an overall good prognosis. The neurocognitive profile of ECTS shows various degrees of neuropsychological impairment, with speech impairment and executive dysfunction being the most prominent. This review aimed to clarify the executive function (EF) profile of children with ECTS and the clinical variables' impact on these abilities. We conducted a systematic review of the relevant literature for articles published up to January 2021. Demographic and clinical characteristics were abstracted from the original records. EF tasks used in the studies were classified according to Diamond's model, which identified four components: working memory, inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility, and higher order EFs. Twenty-three studies were included. Among the included records, 14 studies examined working memory, 15 inhibitory control, 15 flexibility, 4 higher order EFs, and 2 general EFs. Results confirmed the presence of a specific impairment in two abilities: inhibitory control and cognitive flexibility. This review confirms the need to assess each EF both in verbal and visual-spatial tasks. The early detection of children with ECTS at risk of developing neuropsychological impairment could activate interventions and prevent worse school achievement, social functioning, and a poor quality of life. Systematic review registration: PROSPERO: CRD42021245959.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108254
JournalEpilepsy Behav.
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Aug 21 2021


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