Researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio looked into the effects of epilepsy on children's cognitive abilities. They compared 282 school-aged children - who had had their first epileptic seizure in the last three months - with 147 of their siblings who had not had any seizures. The scientists also looked at three other risk factors: having had multiple seizures, using epilepsy drugs and having abnormal brain waves. Children with all four risk factors were three times more likely to experience cognitive difficulties. Of the children who had had one seizure 27% showed cognitive problems at or near the time of their first seizure and 40% of the children who had additional risk factors showed signs of cognitive problems. Children who took epilepsy drugs had difficulties in processing speed, language, verbal memory and learning compared to children who did not take them.
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