Cognitive disorders in epilepsy I: Clinical experience, real-world evidence and recommendations

Andres M. Kanner, Christoph Helmstaedter, Zahra Sadat-Hossieny, Kimford Meador

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This is the first of two narrative reviews on cognitive disorders in epilepsy (companion publication : Cognitive disorders in epilepsy II: Clinical targets, indications and selection of test instruments). Its focus is on clinical experience, real-world evidence, and clinical recommendations. Cognitive disorders are a common comorbidity in children and adults with epilepsy. These cognitive disturbances may preceed the onset of seizures and are multifactorial including contributions by pre-existing brain damage, seizures, interictal epileptic discharges, and treatments including medications and surgery. Comorbid cognitive impairments can have a negative impact on the quality of life in people with epilepsy. They are under-identified and frequently not treated. Comorbid psychiatric disorders, such as ADHD can also contribute to a worse cognitive performance and can benefit from pharmacotherapy with CNS stimulants. Likewise, mood disorders cause a subjective perception of poor memory and attention, which can be reversed with antidepressants of the SSRI family. This narrative review discusses these issues from a real-world clinical perspective in children and adults with newly diagnosed and chronic epilepsy. The need for further research to understand and treat these disorders is noted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-222
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Cognition
  • Epilepsy
  • Epilepsy surgery
  • Neuropsychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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