Language dysfunction in epileptic conditions

Semin Pediatr Neurol. 2002 Sep;9(3):218-28. doi: 10.1053/spen.2002.35504.


Epilepsy may disrupt brain functions necessary for language development by its associated intellectual disabilities or directly as a consequence of the seizure disorder. Additionally, in recent years, there has been increasing recognition of the association of epileptiform electroencephalogram (EEG) abnormalities with language disorders and autism spectrum disorders. Any process that impairs language function has long-term consequences for academic, social, and occupational adjustments in children and adolescents with epilepsy. Furthermore, impairments in specific language abilities can impact memory and learning abilities. This article reviews interictal language function in children and adults with epilepsy; epilepsy surgery and language outcome; and language disorders associated with abnormal EEGs. The relationship between epilepsy and language function is complicated as the neuroanatomic circuits common to both overlap. We demonstrate how magnetoencephalography (MEG) offers the ability to analyze the relationship of language, EEG abnormalities, and epilepsy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain Mapping
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy / complications*
  • Epilepsy / diagnostic imaging
  • Epilepsy / pathology
  • Epilepsy, Complex Partial / complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Landau-Kleffner Syndrome / complications
  • Language Development Disorders / etiology
  • Language Disorders / etiology*
  • Language Tests
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Radiography
  • Time Factors