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Concurrent language disorders in children with idiopathic epilepsy



The relationship between language and epilepsy remains complex. Language disorder and epilepsy can be concomitant but unrelated phenomena. They can also be separate consequences of the same underlying brain pathology. Epilepsy can also be the direct cause of the language disorder. The aim of this study was to study concurrent language disorders in children with idiopathic epilepsy.

Study design

This cross-sectional study was conducted on 50 children attending the Neurology Clinic at Alexandria University Children Hospital at El-Shatby with the diagnosis of idiopathic epilepsy. Their ages ranged from 3 to 6 years, and 29 were male and 21 were female. These children were divided into two groups: group 1 included 25 cases with idiopathic generalized epilepsy, and group 2 included 25 cases with idiopathic focal epilepsy. All cases were subjected to thorough history taking, assessment of epilepsy severity using the National Hospital Seizure Severity Scale, and comprehensive neurological examination. They were also subjected to digital electroencephalographic recording. The studied cases had undergone psychometric assessment using the Stanford–Binet Test and language assessment using the Comprehensive Arabic Language Test.

The study was approved by the Ethics Committee at the Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University. Consent was taken from all cases to participate in the study.


Thirty-two (64%) children with idiopathic epilepsy presented with developmental language disorders. As regards the observed disorders, 30 (93.7%) cases presented with phonological disorder, 29 (90.6%) presented with semantic disorders, 29 (90.6%) presented with syntax disorders, 20 (62.5%) presented with morphological disorders, and 28 (87.5%) cases presented with pragmatic disorders. Male sex, age (54.48±9 months), and uncontrolled epilepsy demonstrated to have a higher risk for developmental language disorders.


Male sex, age, and uncontrolled epilepsy are risk factors.


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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Rania M. Abdou.

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Bedair, H.M., Mohamed, M.K., Abdou, R.M. et al. Concurrent language disorders in children with idiopathic epilepsy. Egypt J Otolaryngol 33, 604–609 (2017).

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  • developmental language disorders
  • epilepsy
  • risk factor