The term “epileptic encephalopathy” denotes a disorder in which seizures or frequent interictal discharges exacerbate neurocognitive dysfunction beyond what would be expected on the basis of underlying etiology. However, many underlying causes of epileptic encephalopathy also result in neurocognitive deficits, and it can be challenging to discern to what extent these deficits can be improved with better seizure control. Additionally, as seizures in these conditions are typically refractory, children are often exposed to high doses of multiple antiepileptic drugs which further exacerbate these comorbidities. This review will summarize the neurocognitive and social outcomes in children with various epileptic encephalopathies. Prompt, accurate diagnosis of epilepsy syndrome and etiology allows selection of optimal therapy to maximize seizure control, limiting the impact of ongoing seizures and frequent epileptiform abnormalities on the developing brain. Furthermore, mandatory screening for comorbidities allows early recognition and focused therapy for these commonly associated conditions to maximize neurocognitive outcome.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Clinical Neurology