WASHINGTON – Children with febrile status epilepticus (FSE) may be at risk for memory impairment when abnormal hippocampal development or acute injury is also present, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society.
Thisof patients enrolled in the study presents some of the first prospective data available regarding significant risk factors for cognitive dysfunction in children with FSE.
“Overall, children with FSE have generally intact memory function and generally intact IQ,” said, a neurology instructor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York. “However, children with acute T2 [hyperintensities on MRI] and kids who have hippocampal malrotation [HIMAL] tend to have weaker memory scores.”
The investigators conducted a prospective study of 113 children with FSE using data gathered from five medical centers across the United States between June 2003 and March 2010.
Children included in the study were followed with serial MRIs and electroencephalograms for more than 5 years after their having FSE; during this time, their verbal, visual, and screening memory abilities were tested using the Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning, Second Edition, () test.
Patients had an average age of 15.5 months at time of FSE. Of the children in the study, 46% were female, and 46% were non-white.
Overall, mean scores at baseline on the WRAML2 were significantly lower for children with acute hippocampal injury shown on T2 hyperintensities or HIMAL than they were for children with a normal MRI scan. On individual memory functions of the WRAML2, mean scores at baseline for children with acute T2 hyperintensities were lower than they were for those with a normal MRI on the verbal index (79 vs. 102.3), visual index (81 vs. 93.7), and screening memory index (76 vs. 97.7). Children with HIMAL at baseline also had lower scores on those indexes (94.9 for verbal memory, 82.5 for visual memory, and 97 for screening memory) than did children with a normal MRI.
The differences were statistically significant for lower verbal memory and screening memory scores in patients with acute T2 hyperintensities and for lower visual memory scores in patients with HIMAL. The differences trended toward statistical significance for lower visual memory scores in children with acute T2 hyperintensities and for lower verbal memory scores in children with focal FSE seizures.
The researchers found no significant differences in memory task performances when stratifying for age at time of FSE, duration of FSE, or patients’ sex, according to Dr. Weiss.
With this initial connection uncovered, Dr. Weiss and her colleagues are looking to dive deeper into different aspects of hippocampal properties and FSE.
“We’re looking into the relationship between hippocampus size and memory performances, as well as continue to track these studies,” Dr. Weiss said in an interview. “Another factor to consider when you talk about memory is attention, and we have looked into it a bit, but we need more information.”
This study was funded by a grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The presenters reported no relevant financial disclosures.