Study highlights factors affecting psychosocial function in paediatric epilepsy

Picture of young child

Clinicians need to be more aware of the different influencing factors of demographic and epilepsy-related variables that affect psychosocial outcomes in paediatric epilepsy patients.

This is according to a new study from South Korea, which was led by Seoul’s Yonsei University and Korea University, which aimed to identify the different patterns and causes that can have varying levels of impact on the psychological make-up of young epilepsy patients.

For this research, a total of 598 patients with paediatric epilepsy between the ages of four and 18 years and their parents participated, with various scales and metrics used to assess daily living function, behaviour and quality of life.

Meanwhile, demographic variables such as age and gender and epilepsy-related clinical variables – including seizure type, seizure frequency, duration of epilepsy and number of medications – were obtained from medical records.

It was discovered that demographic and epilepsy-related clinical variables had a strong influence on cognition-related metrics such as general adaptive function, school/total competence and quality of life, with the impact measured between 22 and 32 per cent.

Additionally, a comparatively smaller effect of between two and 16 per cent was seen when considering more psychological aspects, including behavioural, emotional and social variables.

Younger age, shorter duration of illness and a smaller number of prescribed medications were generally associated with a strong positive impact on psychosocial function, particularly when considering adaptive function, competence and quality-of-life aspects.

The researchers concluded: “Given the wide range of impact of demographic and clinical variables on various facets of psychosocial functions, more specific understanding of the various aspects of factors and their particular pattern of influence may enable more effective therapeutic approaches that address both the medical and psychological needs in paediatric epilepsy.”

Epilepsy is a common condition that affects around one in 103 people, generally being diagnosed during childhood or past the age of 65. However, it can affect people of any age.

Posted by Anne Brown