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Motor and cognitive functions in newly diagnosed adult seizure patients before antiepileptic medication

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Objective– Motor and cognitive functions in patients with partial or generalized onset of seizures were evaluated prior to the adminstration of antiepileptic medication. Material and methods– Motor function, attention and memory of 52 consecutive newly diagnosed adult patients with partial or generalized seizures were assessed with neuropsychological tests. Results– Patients with partial onset of seizures did not differ from patients with generalized seizures in tests of motor function or attention, nor in tests of learning and memory. Compared to controls patients with epilepsy performed significantly worse on visual motor tasks, mental flexibily and in delayed visual memory. Within the patient group as a whole lower education, higher age and symptomatic epilepsy with more abnormal CT scan findings tended to associate with worse performance in tests of concentration and mental flexibility and tests of memory. Conclusion– These findings indicate that newly diagnosed adult patients with partial or generalized onset of seizures prior to treatment with antiepileptic medication experience some problems in visual motor tasks, mental flexibility and memory even without the numerous risk factors for cognitive deficits in epilepsy. In newly diagnosed patients with epilepsy as a whole symptomatic etiology was associated with somewhat more pronounced cognitive problems.

Keywords: attention; cognition; epilepsy; memory; motor functions

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Neurology, Central Hospital of Päijät‐Häme, Lahti, Finland 2: Department of Psychology, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland

Publication date: February 1, 2000

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