Intellectual impairment in patients with epilepsy in Ile-Ife, Nigeria

Sunmonu, TA, Komolafe MA, Ogunrin AO, Oladimeji BY, Ogunniyi A.  2008.  Intellectual impairment in patients with epilepsy in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, 2008. Acta Neurologica Scandinavica. 118(6)


Introduction - Epilepsy is the most common non-infectious neurologic disease in developing countries such as Africa, including Nigeria. This study was designed to assess the intellectual performance of patients with epilepsy (PWE) in Nigeria hoping that the result will serve as the basis for educational, vocational, and social counseling. Methods - Forty-one PWE were studied along with 41 age-, sex- and education-matched healthy controls. A questionnaire was developed and applied to all subjects and history was taken from patients and eyewitness. The intellectual function of each subject was assessed with the aid of Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale adapted for Nigerians. All patients subsequently had electroencephalography (EEG) performed and the EEG findings were noted. SPSS statistical package was used to analyze the data. Result - The PWE performed poorly on the verbal IQ, performance IQ, and full scale IQ scores when compared with controls (P < 0.05) and 20% of PWE had mental retardation. Long duration of epilepsy, long duration of antiepileptic drug therapy, younger age at onset of epilepsy, increased frequency of seizures, and low educational status were found to have negative impacts on intellectual performance in PWE (P < 0.05) while seizure types and type of antiepileptic drugs (carbamazepine or phenytoin) did not influence intellectual performance. Conclusion - This study shows that PWE had significant intellectual impairment when compared with controls. In addition, long duration of epilepsy, long duration of AED therapy, earlier age of onset, increased seizure frequency, and low educational status had a negative impact on intellectual functioning in PWE. Copyright © 2008 The Authors.