Social communication, language, and PET glucose utilization were studied before and after right hemispherectomy in four children with Rasmussen encephalitis (RE) at the University of California, Los Angeles. Improved social communication and language following surgery was related to age at onset, duration of illness, and reversibility of the hypometabolism in the nonresected prefrontal cortex. Improvements in communication and language were not accompanied by improved IQ scores. Early surgical treatment might lessen the degree of deficit in communication and language skills. Onset of RE after age 11 years is associated with less social communication deficit. 
COMMENT. Right hemisphere damage is associated with delays in language development. Surgery performed early to control seizures prevents further deterioration in intellectual functioning and results in improved language and communication skills.