Epilepsy patients often have cognitive dysfunction even at early stages of disease. We investigated the relationship between structural findings and neuropsychological status in drug-naïve newly diagnosed pediatric epilepsy patients. Thirty newly diagnosed pediatric epilepsy patients and 25 healthy control subjects aged 716 years were enrolled, who were assessed by the Korean version of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (K-WISC-III), the Stroop test, and the trail making test (TMT). Optimized voxel-based morphometry (VBM) was performed for both Gray Matter (GM) and White Matter (WM) volumes. Lower performance levels of verbal intelligence quotient, freedom from distractibility, and executive function were observed in epilepsy group. Interestingly, poor performance in these cognitive subdomains was correlated with regional VBM findings involving both GM and WM volumes, but with different patterns between groups. GM volumes revealed clear differences predominantly in the bilateral frontal regions. These findings indicate that certain cognitive functions may be affected in the early stage of epilepsy, not related to the long-standing epilepsy or medication, but more related to the neurocognitive developmental process in this age. Epilepsy can lead to neuroanatomical alterations in both GM and WM, which may affect cognitive functions, during early stages even before commencement of AED medication.
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© 2015 Jung Hwa Lee et al.