Neuropsychological studies indicate that new-onset childhood absence epilepsy (CAE) is associated with deficits in attention and executive functioning. However, the contribution of these deficits to impaired academic performance remains unclear. We aimed to examine whether attention and executive functioning deficits account for the academic difficulties prevalent in patients with new-onset CAE. We analyzed cognitive performance in several domains, including language, mathematics, psychomotor speed, spatial ability, memory, general intelligence, attention, and executive functioning, in 35 children with new-onset CAE and 33 control participants. Patients with new-onset CAE exhibited deficits in mathematics, general intelligence, attention, and executive functioning. Furthermore,attention deficits, as measured by a visual tracing task, accounted for impaired arithmetic performance in the new-onset CAE group. Therefore, attention deficits, rather than impaired general intelligence or executive functioning, may be responsible for arithmetic performance deficits in patients with new-onset CAE.
Cheng, D., Yan, X., Gao, Z., Xu, K., & Chen, Q. (2017). Attention contributes to arithmetic deficits in new-onset childhood absence epilepsy. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 8(SEP). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2017.00166