Purpose: Some children with rolandic epilepsy have associated neuropsychiatric deficits resembling symptoms of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the most common neurobehavioral disorder of childhood. The clinical overlap between both syndromes has received relatively little attention. The study examines the frequency of rolandic spikes in nonepileptic children with ADHD and compares it with a historic control group of 3,726 normal school-aged children. ADHD patients with and without discharges are compared regarding age at admission, sex, global functioning, and distribution of ADHD subtypes.
Methods: The EEGs of 483 ADHD outpatients between 2 and 16 years meeting diagnostic criteria for ADHD according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) were evaluated prospectively. If rolandic spikes were present, separate sleep EEGs were performed to exclude a bioelectrical status epilepticus during slow-wave sleep.
Results: Rolandic spikes were detected in the EEGs of 27 children (5.6%; 22 boys and five girls). Seizure rate during follow-up tended to be larger in children with rolandic spikes. No significant differences were found between ADHD patients with and without spikes regarding sex and global functioning. ADHD children with rolandic spikes came to our attention significantly earlier than did children without discharges and tended to exhibit more hyperactive-impulsive symptoms, evidenced in a larger proportion of the diagnosis of ADHD combined type than ADHD inattentive type.
Conclusions: The frequency of rolandic spikes in children with ADHD is significantly higher than expected from epidemiologic studies. The question arises how ADHD symptoms are related to rolandic spikes in this ADHD subgroup. Possibly rolandic discharges or underlying, not fully understood mechanisms of epileptogenesis decrease the vulnerability threshold, advance the onset, or aggravate the course of ADHD.