We fight to improve the lives
of everyone affected by epilepsy

Warning message

This article was published in February 2016. The information may be out of date. Please check our epilepsy information or our site A-Z.

Speaking multiple languages can offset some problems with working memory in children with epilepsy

10 Feb 2016


Speaking two languages fluently – bilingualism – has been found to protect the working memory of children with epilepsy from typical weakening of this function, a study has shown.

Many childhood epilepsy syndromes weaken the children’s executive skills – these are skills that help people manage their time, pay attention, plan and organise.

However, a link has previously been found between bilingualism and an improved executive functioning in healthy people. Researcher Amy Veenstra and her colleagues set out to investigate bilingualism in children with epilepsy. They wanted to see if the positive effect of speaking two languages would help to offset some of the weakening of executive function in children with epilepsy.

The study authors looked at data collected on 52 children, analysing their behaviour and cognitive functions like reasoning, memory, attention and language. They compared children who only spoke one language to bilingual children, controlling for other factors like socioeconomic status and ethnicity.

The bilingual children had significantly better scores on the Working Memory Index, which tests things like the children’s short-term memory, concentration and use of information.

The study is published in the February edition of Epilepsy & Behavior.


You may also like...

Memory impairment in children with TLE

It has already been established that adults with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) show problems with autobiographical memory. A recent study offers new evidence about how TLE affects memory in children

There are no comments yet. Be the first to comment...

Question about your epilepsy?

Your question will be sent to our helpline advisors.

Have a comment about this page?

All comments are reviewed by a moderator before publishing. Comments will be edited or deleted if they are offensive, libellous, slanderous, abusive, commercial or irrelevant.

We ask for your email when you make a comment through this website. This means that we can let you know directly that we have replied to you. By making a comment through the website, you allow us to use the comment in our publicity without using your name. If we would like to use your name, we will email you to get your permission.

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
8 + 8 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.