Abstract

Objective: Children with a history of stroke often experience neurocognitive and behavioral deficits across multiple domains, yet the added impact of epilepsy remains largely understudied. We examined the effect of comorbid epilepsy on intellectual and executive functioning in pediatric stroke. Method: Participant variables, IQ data, and parent questionnaires (BRIEF) were retrospectively collected from 20 children (n = 10 stroke with epilepsy, “S + E,” n = 10 stroke without epilepsy, “S–E,” matched for gender, age, and stroke type). Inclusion criteria were: history of overt stroke due to a primary vascular cause/disease. Medical records were reviewed and test data were extracted from clinical reports. Results: Intellectual abilities were significantly lower in the S + E group (mean FSIQ = 71, 40% with Intellectual Disability [ID]) compared to the S–E group (mean FSIQ = 91, 0% with ID). Children with comorbid epilepsy demonstrated greater reported problems in nearly all aspects of executive functioning; however, results were not significant. Behavioral regulation skills were notably more problematic for the S + E group (OR = 8.8 for T >60 on BRIEF BRI). The S + E group also had a slightly higher incidence of ADHD (30% vs. 20%). Conclusion(s): Children with comorbid epilepsy demonstrated greater weaknesses in intelligence and aspects of executive functioning, particularly behavioral regulation problems. Additionally, these children were at higher risk for diagnoses of ADHD and ID than those without comorbid epilepsy. Future research examining other variables that predict poor neurocognitive and behavioral outcomes is crucial for assessing pediatric stroke risk factors and designing interventions.