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Successful epilepsy surgery increases IQ in young children

4 May, 2005

A study of 50
pre-school aged children with epilepsy who underwent surgical treatment
showed significant improvements on overall mental development and left
many seizure-free.

Researchers, writing in the journal Epilepsia,
studied how children aged between three and seven years old developed
intellectually in the few years following epilepsy surgery. While those
with severe epilepsy are at high risk for significant developmental
delay, data showed that those who became seizure free after surgery
were able to develop better and may actually gain some abilities that
they did not have before surgery.

Twelve
months after surgery, 82 per cent of children showed stable
improvements in development and three children showed gains of greater
than 15 points in IQ. Gains in IQ were only observed in seizure-free
children.

One of the report's authors, Dr Ingrid Tuxhorn, commented:

'The
questions answered in our study have a significant everyday value for
counselling parents whether their child should undergo epilepsy
surgery.

'This
study on the long-term cognitive outcome of preschool children who had
epilepsy surgery shows that children with a shorter duration of
epilepsy and a seizure-free outcome have the best chance for improving
their cognitive function two to three years after a successful
operation.'