Purpose: Associations between rolandic epilepsy (RE) with reading disability (RD) and speech sound disorder (SSD) have not been tested in a controlled study. We conducted a case-control study to determine whether (1) RD and SSD odds are higher in RE probands than controls and (2) an RE proband predicts a family member with RD or SSD, hence suggesting a shared genetic etiology for RE, RD, and SSD.
Methods: Unmatched case-control study with 55 stringently defined RE cases, 150 controls in the same age range lacking a primary brain disorder diagnosis, and their siblings and parents. Odds ratios (OR) were calculated by multiple logistic regression, adjusted for sex and age, and for relatives, also adjusted for comorbidity of RD and SSD in the proband.
Results: RD was strongly associated with RE after adjustment for sex and age: OR 5.78 (95% CI: 2.86-11.69). An RE proband predicts RD in family members: OR 2.84 (95% CI: 1.38-5.84), but not independently of the RE proband's RD status: OR 1.30 (95% CI: 0.55-12.79). SSD was also comorbid with RE: adjusted OR 2.47 (95%CI: 1.22-4.97). An RE proband predicts SSD in relatives, even after controlling for sex, age and proband SSD comorbidity: OR 4.44 (95% CI: 1.93-10.22).
Conclusions: RE is strongly comorbid with RD and SSD. Both RD and SSD are likely to be genetically influenced and may contribute to the complex genetic etiology of the RE syndrome. Siblings of RE patients are at high risk of RD and SSD and both RE patients and their younger siblings should be screened early.