Performance on tests of Reaction Time, Color Trails, Manual Tapping and Steadiness, and Sustained Attention were compared in 51 children with epilepsy (age 7-16 years) and 48 healthy classmates, in a study at Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital, Utrecht, the Netherlands. Execution times and motor speed were not significantly different in children with epilepsy and controls. Significantly more patients than controls had transient poor performance in one or other task (69% cf 40%). Patients with prior school or behavior difficulties and those whose parents could not adjust to a diagnosis of epilepsy performed worse than those without these additional problems. Epilepsy-related variables did not explain any variance in performance of attention and other tasks. [1]

COMMENT. Children with newly diagnosed idiopathic epilepsy without other complications are not subject to persistent deficits in attentiveness. Treatment with antiepileptic medications had no adverse effects on attention in this study. Prior school and behavioral difficulties and maladjustment to the diagnosis of epilepsy, but not epilepsy variables, may be associated with impaired attention