Language dysfunction in children with Rolandic epilepsy

Neuropediatrics. 1998 Oct;29(5):242-8. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-973569.


Rolandic epilepsy is regarded as the classic example of benign focal epilepsy. However, neuropsychological deficits have been noted in affected children. As Rolandic discharges are mainly distributed over the centrotemporal region, specific interference with language function might be suspected. Therefore, we conducted a standardized neuropsychological assessment in children with Rolandic epilepsy which covered all important aspects of language processing. We measured intelligence Quotient, verbal memory, auditory discrimination, vocabulary, grammar and literacy in 20 children with an active Rolandic focus. Information about performance at school was obtained from teachers by means of a questionnaire. Patients with Rolandic epilepsy failed five of the twelve standardized language tests significantly more often than the normative population and consequently showed impairment of the following functions: reading, spelling, auditory verbal learning, auditory discrimination with background noise and expressive grammar. Thirteen of the 20 children showed language dysfunction with difficulties in two or more of the twelve standardized language tests. In eight of these 13 children the Full Scale Intelligence Quotient was within average range, indicating a specific language deficit. Language dysfunction was closely associated with learning difficulties at school. This study documents a consistent pattern of language dysfunction in children with Rolandic epilepsy which suggests interictal dysfunction of perisylvian language areas.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Articulation Disorders / complications
  • Child
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy, Rolandic / complications*
  • Epilepsy, Rolandic / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Language Disorders / etiology*
  • Language Tests
  • Learning Disabilities / etiology*
  • Male
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Neuropsychological Tests