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Dr Catherine M Hill

Sleep quality and daytime neurobehavioral functioning in childhood epilepsy

Dr Catherine M Hill, University of Southampton
Professor Fenella Kirkham, University of Southampton
Dr Andrea Whitney, Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust
Dr Anke Karl. University of Southampton

£14,988 – 9 months

A research team at the University of Southampton, led by Dr Catherine Hill, has recently completed a study that looked at whether there was a link between sleep problems and learning in children with epilepsy.

Parents of children with epilepsy often report that their children experienced sleep difficulties, such as night waking. However, by using a device that measured movement, Dr Hill found that children with epilepsy did not experience more sleep problems than a comparable group of children without the condition. Parents were also asked about their child’s behaviour. Again, there were no significant differences between the two groups of children.

As part of the study, Dr Hill and her team also tested the cognitive function of the two groups. The tests measured such areas as memory, planning skills and attention.

These are area that helps develop the child’s capacity to learn effectively and do well in school. In these tests, children with epilepsy did less well than the group without epilepsy.

Dr Hill said that this was an important finding, particularly as the children with epilepsy were not known to have any learning difficulties in school. She went to say that study provided a robust basis for further research.

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