Cognitive functioning in community dwelling older adults with chronic partial epilepsy

Academic Article


  • Purpose: To examine cognitive functioning in community-dwelling older adults with chronic partial epilepsy and demographically matched healthy older adults. Methods: Standardized measures of neurocognitive function were collected as part of an ongoing study investigating health-related quality-of-life issues in older adults with epilepsy. Cognitive tests consisted of the Mattis Dementia Rating Scale (subscales include attention, initiation/perseveration, construction, conceptualization, memory), Logical Memory subtest from the WMS-III (immediate and delayed recall scores), and word fluency. Mood was measured with the Geriatric Depression Scale. Older adults with epilepsy (n = 25) and healthy older adults (n = 27) completed testing. All participants were at least 60 years old, living independently in the community, and had no history of drug/alcohol abuse or life-threatening medical conditions. All older adults with epilepsy had been diagnosed as having medically intractable partial complex seizures, including those with histories of secondary generalization. Results: Older adults with epilepsy demonstrated impairments across all cognitive measures compared with the healthy controls. Seizure onset (age) and seizure duration (years) were not statistically associated with neurocognitive function or selfreported mood. Older adults with epilepsy who were receiving antiepileptic drug (AED) polytherapy (n = 11) displayed worse performance on the attention, initiation/perseveration, and memory subscales of the DRS and Logical Memory delayed recall score compared with those older adults with epilepsy receiving monotherapy (n = 14). The number of AEDs taken was not associated with seizure frequency. Conclusions: Negative effects on cognitive function are experienced by older adults with chronic partial epilepsy. AED polytherapy may increase the risk for negative cognitive dysfunction.
  • Published In

  • Epilepsia  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Martin RC; Griffith HR; Faught E; Gilliam F; Mackey M; Vogtle L
  • Start Page

  • 298
  • End Page

  • 303
  • Volume

  • 46
  • Issue

  • 2