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Assessing risk: Characterizing language performance in pediatric patients with intractable epilepsy pre- and post-surgical resection. Epilepsy Behav 2021 Feb;115:107603



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Neuropsychologists play an important role in assessing risk for post-surgical cognitive decline in pediatric patients with medically refractory epilepsy. Families, neurologists, and neurosurgeons are particularly concerned about the possibility for language decline for patients with a dominant, most often left, hemisphere epileptic focus and planned surgical resection. This study aims to describe language functioning in pediatric epilepsy patients following resection and evaluate the accuracy of a clinical approach of assessing risk. This study proposes a risk assessment method that considers a patient's pattern of lateralized dysfunction across cognitive domains, suspected neuroanatomical reorganization of language functions, and planned site of resection. Pediatric patients (N = 47) were dichotomized as being at minimal risk or at greater risk for post-surgical language decline based on the proposed risk assessment method. Retrospective chart review was utilized to obtain neuropsychological (Boston Naming Test and Weschler Vocabulary subtest) and clinical variables of interest. Patients in the minimal risk group demonstrated significantly improved BNT scores at post-surgery. Most patients remained stable in their Vocabulary knowledge. The proposed risk assessment method correctly classified patients 77% of the time based on BNT performance. Cluster analysis examining the individual components of the proposed method revealed three distinct patient subgroups. Clinical implications are discussed.

Author List

Wozniak BD, Loman MM, Koop JI


Jennifer I. Koop Olsta PhD Professor in the Neurology department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Michelle Loman Moudry PhD Assistant Professor in the Neurology department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Drug Resistant Epilepsy
Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe
Functional Laterality
Neuropsychological Tests
Retrospective Studies