Posts Tagged cognition

[Abstract + References] Cognitive training in an everyday-like virtual reality enhances visual-spatial memory capacities in stroke survivors with visual field defects

ABSTRACT

Objectives

Visual field defects due to hemi- or quadrantanopia after stroke represent an under-recognized neurological symptom with inefficient instruments for neurorehabilitation to date. We here examined the effects of training in a virtual reality (VR) supermarket on cognitive functions, depressive symptoms, and subjective cognitive complaints in patients with hemianopia/quadrantanopia and healthy controls.

Methods

During a 14-day rehabilitation program, 20 patients and 20 healthy controls accomplished a real-life-like shopping task in a VR supermarket. A comparison between pre- and post-training standard neuropsychological measures, depressive symptoms, and subjective memory complaints allowed us to assess a putative transfer of rehabilitation effects from the training tasks to specific cognitive functions.

Results

The results indicate that VR training may improve performance not only in the trained task but also in specific neuropsychological functions. After the training, both patients and controls showed improved performances in visual scanning, mental rotation, visuoconstruction, and cognitive flexibility. Moreover, depressive symptoms were attenuated in both groups. In the patient group compared to the control group, the training particularly resulted in improved visual memory retrieval and reduced memory complaints.

Conclusions

The results of the current study suggest that VR training can improve particularly visual-spatial skills in patients with hemianopia or quadrantanopia. Our study thus introduces an interesting novel treatment approach to improve cognitive functions relevant to daily life in stroke patients with visual field defects

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[Abstract] Exergames in people with major neurocognitive disorder: a systematic review

Purpose

To systematically evaluate the efficacy of exergames in individuals with major neurocognitive disorder.

Materials and methods

PubMed, EMBASE and PEDro were systematically searched from inception until October 2019 for randomised and clinical controlled trials. Methodological quality of the trials was assessed with the PEDro rating scale or Risk of Bias in Nonrandomised Studies of Interventions-I (ROBINS-I), when appropriate. Grading of Recommendations Assessments, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) was used to assess the overall quality of the evidence.

Results

Eight trials, all of moderate to high methodological quality (i.e., PEDro score of 6 or higher or a Robins-I moderate quality score) were included. The overall quality of evidence was moderate to high according to the GRADE criteria. Improvements in gait, mobility and balance and beneficial effects on activities of daily living performance, cognitive function, fear of falls, quality of life and mood following exergaming were reported. Heterogeneity in outcome measures, intervention characteristics and included participants precluded a meta-analysis.

Conclusions

The current literature is of moderate to high quality and demonstrates that exergames have a wide range of physical and mental benefits in people with major neurocognitive disorder. More controlled trials are however needed to confirm the existing evidence before exergames can be recommended in treatment guidelines for people with major neurocognitive disorder.

Implications for rehabilitation

  • Exergames have many physical and mental benefits in people with major neurocognitive disorder

  • Exergaming can enhance gait, mobility and balance in people with major neurocognitive disorder

  • Evidence for beneficial cognitive effects of exergaming is emerging

via Exergames in people with major neurocognitive disorder: a systematic review: Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology: Vol 0, No 0

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[ARTICLE] Cognition and epilepsy. Cognitive screening test – Full Text PDF

ABSTRACT

Cognitive: deficits often occur in people with epilepsy (PWE). However, in Brazil, PWE might not undergo neurocognitive evaluation due to the low number of validated tests available and lack of multidisciplinary teams in general epilepsy outpatient clinics.

Objective: To correlate Brief Cognitive Battery-Edu (BCB-Edu) scores with epilepsy characteristics of 371 PWE.

Methods: Clinical and cognitive assessment (MMSE, BCB-Edu) of 371 PWE aged >18 years was performed. The clinical aspects of epilepsy were correlated with BCB-Edu data. Cognitive data of PWE were compared against those of 95 healthy individuals (NC), with p-<0.05.

Results: People with epilepsy had lower cognitive performance than individuals in the NC group. Cognitive aspects also differed according to epilepsy characteristics. Predictive factors for impairment in multiple cognitive domains were age and use of more than one antiepileptic drug (logistic regression; R2 Nagelkerke=0.135).

Conclusion: Worse cognitive performance was found in PWE on different domains. There was a relationship between cognitive impairment and the aspects of epilepsy. BCB-Edu proved to be effective as a cognitive assessment screening test for epilepsy in adults. Key words: epilepsy, Brief Cognitive Battery-Edu, cognition[…]

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[Abstract] Examining the effect of virtual reality therapy on cognition post-stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Introduction: Virtual reality (VR) are user-computer interface platforms that implement real-time simulation of an activity or environment, allowing user interaction via multiple sensory modalities. VR therapy may be an effective intervention for improving cognitive function following stroke. The aim of this systematic review was to examine the effectiveness of exercise-based VR therapy on cognition post-stroke.

Methods: Electronic databases were searched for terms related to “stroke”, “virtual reality”, “exercise” and “cognition”. Studies were included if they: (1) were randomized-controlled trials; (2) included VR-based interventions; (3) included individuals with stroke; and (4) included outcome measures related to cognitive function. Data from included studies were synthesised qualitatively and where possible, random effects meta-analyses were performed.

Results: Eight studies involving 196 participants were included in the review, of which five were included in meta-analyses (n = 124 participants). Studies varied in terms of type (combination of VR therapy and conventional therapy, combination of VR therapy and computer-based cognitive training, VR therapy alone) and duration of interventions (20–180 min), sample size (n = 12–42), length of the interventions (4–8 weeks), and cognitive outcomes examined. VR therapy was not more effective than control for improving global cognition (n = 5, SMD = 0.24, 95%CI:−0.30,0.78, p = .38), memory (n = 2 studies, SMD= 0.00, 95%CI: −0.58, 0.59, p = .99), attention (n = 2 studies, MD = 8.90, 95%CI: −27.89, 45.70, p = .64) or language (n = 2 studies, SMD = 0.56, 95%CI: −0.08,1.21, p = .09).

Conclusion: VR therapy was not superior to control interventions in improving cognition in individuals with stroke. Future research should include high-quality and adequately powered trials examining the impact of virtual reality therapy on cognition post-stroke.

Implications for rehabilitation

  • Virtual reality therapy is a promising new form of technology that has been shown to increase patient satisfaction towards stroke rehabilitation.

  • Virtual reality therapy has the added benefits of providing instant feedback, and the difficulty can be easily modified, underscoring the user-friendliness of this form of rehabilitation.

  • Virtual reality therapy has the potential to improve various motor, cognitive and physical deficits following stroke, highlighting its usefulness in rehabilitation settings.

via Examining the effect of virtual reality therapy on cognition post-stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis: Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology: Vol 0, No 0

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[Abstract + References] Cognitive Reserve as an Emerging Concept in Stroke Recovery

Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability. It is a complex and largely heterogeneous condition. Prognosis for variations in impairment and recovery following stroke continues to be challenging and inaccurate, highlighting the need to examine the influence of other currently unknown variables to better predict and understand interindividual differences in stroke impairment and recovery. The concept of “cognitive reserve,” a feature of brain function said to moderate the relationship between brain pathology and clinical outcomes, might provide a partial explanation. This review discusses the potential significance of cognitive reserve in the context of stroke, with reference to reduced burden of disability poststroke, health promotion, intervention and secondary prevention of cognitive impairment, ease and challenges of translation into clinical practice, prognosis and prediction of recovery, and clinical decisions and trial stratification. Discussions from the review aim to encourage stroke clinicians and researchers to better consider the role of premorbid, lifestyle-related variables, such as cognitive reserve, in facilitating successful neurological outcomes and recovery following stroke.

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via Cognitive Reserve as an Emerging Concept in Stroke Recovery – Emily Rosenich, Brenton Hordacre, Catherine Paquet, Simon A. Koblar, Susan L. Hillier,

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[WEB PAGE] Growth Hormone Therapy Can Ease Symptoms in Brain Injury Patients

Growth Hormone Therapy Can Ease Symptoms in Brain Injury Patients

More than 2.5 million people in the United States experience a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, each year. Many deal with health issues for years after their head injury, such as fatigue, depressionanxiety, memory issues and sleep disturbances.

Now, a new study has found that TBI triggers a reduction in growth hormone. With growth hormone replacement treatment, many of these health issues improve, according to researchers at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

A 20-year study from a team of researchers led by Dr. Randall Urban, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston’s Chief Research Officer and a professor of endocrinology, led the team to name the syndrome “brain injury associated fatigue and altered cognition” or BIAFAC.

The research team’s work on brain injuries began in the late 1990s when Galveston philanthropist Robert Moody asked the researchers whether TBI caused dysfunction of the hormones made by the brain’s pituitary gland and funded research for the study. His son, Russell, had suffered a serious TBI during a car accident, so he was looking for ways to improve the life of his son and others living with brain injuries.

The researchers have been building on the discovery that TBI triggers a long-term reduction in growth hormone (GH). Most TBI patients experience “dramatic symptom relief” with GH replacement therapy, but the symptoms return if the treatment stops, the researchers noted.

“We already knew that even mild TBI triggers both short- and long-term changes to functional connections in the brain,” said Urban. “GH administration has been extensively linked with both protection and repair of the brain following damage or disease, however we didn’t know much about the particular mechanisms and pathways involved.”

The researchers examined 18 people with a history of mild TBI and inadequate GH secretion. The patients received GH replacement in a year-long, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. They were assessed for changes in physical performance, resting metabolic rate, fatigue, sleep quality, and mood. Functional magnetic resonance imaging was also used throughout the year to assess changes in brain structure and functional connections, researchers said.

The study found that GH replacement was linked with increased lean body mass and decreased fat mass, as well as reduced fatigue, anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbance.

It was also found, for the first time, that these improvements were associated with better communications among brain networks that have been previously associated with GH deficiency, according to the researchers.

The researchers also noted increases in both grey and white matter in frontal brain regions, the “core communications center of the brain,” that could be related to cognitive improvements.

In another study, researchers said they noticed TBI patients had altered amino acid and hormonal profiles suggesting chronic intestinal inflammation.

“We recently completed a trial to investigate the role of the gut-brain axis in the long-lasting effects of TBI,” said Urban. “We compared the fecal microbes of 22 moderate/severe TBI patients residing in a long-term care facility with 18 healthy age-matched control subjects, identifying disruptions of intestinal metabolism and changes in nutrient utilization in TBI patients that could explain the reduced growth hormone function.”

The results suggest that people with TBI-related fatigue and altered cognition also have different fecal bacterial communities than the control group. Urban said that the findings suggest that supplementing or replacing the microbial imbalanced intestinal communities may help to ease the symptoms experienced after TBI.

“These two studies further characterize BIAFAC and act as a springboard for new treatment options,” said Urban. “We hope that the publications will focus the collective wisdom of the research community to better understand and treat this syndrome, providing hope for many.

“Because these symptoms can manifest months to years after the initial injury and as this cluster of symptoms hasn’t been previously grouped together, it often goes unidentified in the medical community.”

The studies were published in the Journal of Neurotrauma.

Source: The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

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[ARTICLE] Efficacy of Virtual Reality Combined With Real Instrument Training for Patients With Stroke: A Randomized Controlled Trial – Full Text

Article Outline

  1. Methods
    1. Patients
    2. Instrumentation
    3. Intervention
    4. Outcome measurements
    5. Statistical analysis
  2. Results
    1. Treatment effects
  3. Discussion
    1. Study limitations
  4. Conclusions
  5. Suppliers
  6. References

Abstract

Objective

To investigate the efficacy of real instrument training in virtual reality (VR) environment for improving upper-extremity and cognitive function after stroke.

Design

Single-blind, randomized trial.

Setting

Medical center.

Participants

Enrolled subjects (N=31) were first-episode stroke, assessed for a period of 6 months after stroke onset; age between 20 and 85 years; patients with unilateral paralysis and a Fugl-Meyer assessment upper-extremity scale score >18.

Interventions

Both groups were trained 30 minutes per day, 3 days a week, for 6 weeks, with the experimental group performing the VR combined real instrument training and the control group performing conventional occupational therapy.

Main Outcome Measures

Manual Muscle Test, modified Ashworth scale, Fugl-Meyer upper motor scale, hand grip, Box and Block, 9-Hole Peg Test (9-HPT), Korean Mini-Mental State Examination, and Korean-Montreal Cognitive Assessment.

Results

The experimental group showed greater therapeutic effects in a time-dependent manner than the control group, especially on the motor power of wrist extension, spasticity of elbow flexion and wrist extension, and Box and Block Tests. Patients in the experimental group, but not the control group, also showed significant improvements on the lateral, palmar, and tip pinch power, Box and Block, and 9-HPTs from before to immediately after training. Significantly greater improvements in the tip pinch power immediately after training and spasticity of elbow flexion 4 weeks after training completion were noted in the experimental group.

Conclusions

VR combined real instrument training was effective at promoting recovery of patients’ upper-extremity and cognitive function, and thus may be an innovative translational neurorehabilitation strategy after stroke.

Stroke is currently the leading cause of disability and death worldwide, and stroke survivors often experience chronic functional impairment and cognition deficits, which are associated with a reduced quality of life including difficulties in social and personal relationships.1, 2 It is well known that patients with stroke have a limited use of their upper extremities owing to motor dysfunction, and such patients experience sensory-motor deficits that affect their ability to perform daily activities. Stroke increases the risk of dementia 4 to 12 times,3 and up to 69% of subjects have a poststroke cognitive impairment.4 Consequently, the aims of the current rehabilitation strategies for these patients are to improve functional ability and cognitive impairments through optimal and comprehensive rehabilitation processes.

Previous studies have reported that a considerable amount of practice using real instruments is required to stimulate functional improvement and neuroplastic changes.5, 6 Conventional occupational therapies promote the recovery of upper-extremity dysfunction by utilizing task-oriented repetition training with real instruments.7, 8 Conventional therapy using real instruments is essential for poststroke rehabilitation, but environmental, individual, and financial limitations are associated with it.9, 10

Over the past 2 decades, the advancement of computer technology has resulted in the development of interventions that involve virtual reality (VR) devices, which are defined as computer hardware and software systems that generate simulations of imagined environments via visual, auditory, and tactile feedback.11 VR environments may be perceptual, such as creating situations with multiple sensory feedback regarding the patients’ kinematic movements, which are passive or active assisted in a virtual environment, and providing high-intensity repetitive multisensory interaction and goal-oriented tasks.12 Repetition and intensity are key factors for promoting neural plasticity in patients with brain damage.13 Additionally, studies have reported that VR training promotes motor recovery and cognition by inducing experience-dependent neural plasticity through repetitive tasks of varying time, high intensity, and complexity levels.14 Various studies have revealed that adaptive neuroplasticity, defined as the reorganization of movement representation in the motor cortex, premotor cortex, supplementary motor area, and somatosensory cortex due to synaptic efficacy and remodeling of the dendritic spines, can be induced by conducting repetitive goal-oriented tasks in VR-based interventions after stroke.15, 16, 17

Recently, various reports have highlighted the potential utility of VR-based rehabilitation strategies for improving upper-limb motor weakness,18, 19 cognitive dysfunction, and balance in patients poststroke.20, 21, 22 Furthermore, research has shown that compared to conventional therapy, VR training can improve the quality of neurologic rehabilitation and enhance productivity.23 Even more, it has more beneficial effects in poststroke rehabilitation, such as an increased motivation and engagement,24 cost, and usability.25, 26, 27 In addition, VR training is able to facilitate an increased therapy time without necessarily having to rely on a therapist.28 For these reasons, the number of complex and realistic VR-based interventions is increasing in neurorehabilitation programs in order to enhance the variability and adaptability of the intervention, as well as patients’ motivation, after stroke. However, comparing the effects of VR training with conventional therapy is still unclear. According to previous mentions, the combination of VR and real instruments is expected to have a synergy effect rather than a conventional occupational therapy in patients with stroke, and we investigated to see the clinical effect by using actual devices combined with a VR system to perform numerous tasks related to real daily activities.

In the present study, we developed a novel rehabilitation training that combined the benefits of real instrument training and VR-based intervention. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the VR combined with real instrument training would be an efficient translational intervention for improving the functional abilities of the upper-extremity and cognitive function in patients with stroke.

Full Text

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[Abstract] Cognitive training in an everyday-like virtual reality enhances visual-spatial memory capacities in stroke survivors with visual field defects:

Objectives: Visual field defects due to hemi- or quadrantanopia after stroke represent an under-recognized neurological symptom with inefficient instruments for neurorehabilitation to date. We here examined the effects of training in a virtual reality (VR) supermarket on cognitive functions, depressive symptoms, and subjective cognitive complaints in patients with hemianopia/quadrantanopia and healthy controls.

Methods: During a 14-day rehabilitation program, 20 patients and 20 healthy controls accomplished a real-life-like shopping task in a VR supermarket. A comparison between pre- and post-training standard neuropsychological measures, depressive symptoms, and subjective memory complaints allowed us to assess a putative transfer of rehabilitation effects from the training tasks to specific cognitive functions.

Results: The results indicate that VR training may improve performance not only in the trained task but also in specific neuropsychological functions. After the training, both patients and controls showed improved performances in visual scanning, mental rotation, visuoconstruction, and cognitive flexibility. Moreover, depressive symptoms were attenuated in both groups. In the patient group compared to the control group, the training particularly resulted in improved visual memory retrieval and reduced memory complaints.

Conclusions: The results of the current study suggest that VR training can improve particularly visual-spatial skills in patients with hemianopia or quadrantanopia. Our study thus introduces an interesting novel treatment approach to improve cognitive functions relevant to daily life in stroke patients with visual field defects.

via Cognitive training in an everyday-like virtual reality enhances visual-spatial memory capacities in stroke survivors with visual field defects: Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation: Vol 0, No 0

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[WEB SITE] What Disabilities Can Result From a TBI? – BrainLine

What Disabilities Can Result From a TBI?

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
¿Qué discapacidades pueden resultar de un traumatismo cerebral?

 

Disabilities resulting from a TBI depend upon the severity of the injury, the location of the injury, and the age and general health of the patient. Some common disabilities include problems with cognition (thinking, memory, and reasoning), sensory processing (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell), communication (expression and understanding), and behavior or mental health (depression, anxiety, personality changes, aggression, acting out, and social inappropriateness).

Within days to weeks of the head injury approximately 40 percent of TBI patients develop a host of troubling symptoms collectively called postconcussion syndrome (PCS). A patient need not have suffered a concussion or loss of consciousness to develop the syndrome and many patients with mild TBI suffer from PCS. Symptoms include headache, dizziness, vertigo (a sensation of spinning around or of objects spinning around the patient), memory problems, trouble concentrating, sleeping problems, restlessness, irritability, apathy, depression, and anxiety. These symptoms may last for a few weeks after the head injury. The syndrome is more prevalent in patients who had psychiatric symptoms, such as depression or anxiety, before the injury. Treatment for PCS may include medicines for pain and psychiatric conditions, and psychotherapy and occupational therapy todevelop coping skills.

Cognition is a term used to describe the processes of thinking, reasoning, problem solving, information processing, and memory. Most patients with severe TBI, if they recover consciousness, suffer from cognitive disabilities, including the loss of many higher level mental skills. The most common cognitive impairment among severely head-injured patients is memory loss, characterized by some loss of specific memories and the partial inability to form or store new ones. Some of these patients may experience post-traumatic amnesia (PTA), either anterograde or retrograde. Anterograde PTA is impaired memory of events that happened after the TBI, while retrograde PTA is impaired memory of events that happened before the TBI.

Many patients with mild to moderate head injuries who experience cognitive deficits become easily confused or distracted and have problems with concentration and attention. They also have problems with higher level, so-called executive functions, such as planning, organizing, abstract reasoning, problem solving, and making judgments, which may make it difficult to resume pre-injury work-related activities. Recovery from cognitive deficits is greatest within the first 6 months after the injury and more gradual after that.

Patients with moderate to severe TBI have more problems with cognitive deficits than patients with mild TBI, but a history of several mild TBIs may have an additive effect, causing cognitive deficits equal to a moderate or severe injury.

Many TBI patients have sensory problems, especially problems with vision. Patients may not be able to register what they are seeing or may be slow to recognize objects. Also, TBI patients often have difficulty with hand-eye coordination. Because of this, TBI patients may be prone to bumping into or dropping objects, or may seem generally unsteady. TBI patients may have difficulty driving a car, working complex machinery, or playing sports. Other sensory deficits may include problems with hearing, smell, taste, or touch. Some TBI patients develop tinnitus, a ringing or roaring in the ears. A person with damage to the part of the brain that processes taste or smell may develop a persistent bitter taste in the mouth or perceive a persistent noxious smell. Damage to the part of the brain that controls the sense of touch may cause a TBI patient to develop persistent skin tingling, itching, or pain. Although rare, these conditions are hard to treat.

Language and communication problems are common disabilities in TBI patients. Some may experience aphasia, defined as difficulty with understanding and producing spoken and written language; others may have difficulty with the more subtle aspects of communication, such as body language and emotional, non-verbal signals.

In non-fluent aphasia, also called Broca’s aphasia or motor aphasia, TBI patients often have trouble recalling words and speaking in complete sentences. They may speak in broken phrases and pause frequently. Most patients are aware of these deficits and may become extremely frustrated. Patients with fluent aphasia, also called Wernicke’s aphasia or sensory aphasia, display little meaning in their speech, even though they speak in complete sentences and use correct grammar. Instead, they speak in flowing gibberish, drawing out their sentences with non-essential and invented words. Many patients with fluent aphasia are unaware that they make little sense and become angry with others for not understanding them. Patients with global aphasia have extensive damage to the portions of the brain responsible for language and often suffer severe communication disabilities.

TBI patients may have problems with spoken language if the part of the brain that controls speech muscles is damaged. In this disorder, called dysarthria, the patient can think of the appropriate language, but cannot easily speak the words because they are unable to use the muscles needed to form the words and produce the sounds. Speech is often slow, slurred, and garbled. Some may have problems with intonation or inflection, called prosodic dysfunction. An important aspect of speech, inflection conveys emotional meaning and is necessary for certain aspects of language, such as irony. These language deficits can lead to miscommunication, confusion, and frustration for the patient as well as those interacting with him or her.

Most TBI patients have emotional or behavioral problems that fit under the broad category of psychiatric health. Family members of TBI patients often find that personality changes and behavioral problems are the most difficult disabilities to handle. Psychiatric problems that may surface include depression, apathy, anxiety, irritability, anger, paranoia, confusion, frustration, agitation, insomnia or other sleep problems, and mood swings. Problem behaviors may include aggression and violence, impulsivity, disinhibition, acting out, noncompliance, social inappropriateness, emotional outbursts, childish behavior, impaired self-control, impaired self awareness, inability to take responsibility or accept criticism, egocentrism, inappropriate sexual activity, and alcohol or drug abuse/addiction. Some patients’ personality problems may be so severe that they are diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, a psychiatric condition characterized by many of the problems mentioned above. Sometimes TBI patients suffer from developmental stagnation, meaning that they fail to mature emotionally, socially, or psychologically after the trauma. This is a serious problem for children and young adults who suffer from a TBI. Attitudes and behaviors that are appropriate for a child or teenager become inappropriate in adulthood. Many TBI patients who show psychiatric or behavioral problems can be helped with medication and psychotherapy.

 

via What Disabilities Can Result From a TBI? | BrainLine

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[Abstract] Cognitive Implications in Epilepsy.

Abstract

Cognitive dysfunction is one of the major contributors to the burden of epilepsy. It can significantly disrupt intellectual development in children and functional status and quality of life in adults. There is major evidence confirms that cognitive impairment can appear or worsen with early and chronic progressive neurologic changes in epilepsy. It has been increasingly accepted that comorbidity does not indicate causality. Certainly, cognitive impairment in epileptic patients warrant crucial evaluation and mitigation from the time of diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy. The concept of a bidirectional nature of cognitive impairment in epilepsy represents a change in the paradigm of neuropsychology of epilepsy. It has been suggested that both behavioral and cognitive dysfunction associated with epilepsy are not necessarily the consequence of active epilepsy but in fact can dominate and be associated with factors before emergence of epilepsy. This review discusses different etiologies of cognitive and behavioral comorbidities in epilepsy and tries to clarify the nature of relation between epilepsy and cognition.

via Cognitive Implications in Epilepsy.

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