Epileptic children, whose seizures are well-controlled, can still have social and educational problems later in life stemming from acquired behavioral and learning disorders, a new study found.

The intensity and frequency of epileptic seizures in childhood remain vital predictors of how a child will fare in adult life. But the researchers found that these seizures are not the only factors influencing the succeeding educational and social consequences of epileptic children.

The findings can help in screening all children diagnosed with epilepsy regardless of their seizure control abilities. This can help them prevent social and educational problems in adulthood.

"Physicians caring for those patients should not assume kids are doing fine just because their seizures are under control. Seizures really don't tell the whole story," said lead author Anne Berg, a professor of neurology and pediatrics at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

In the 12-year study, researchers followed the development of 241 children and teenagers in Connecticut who received a diagnosis of uncomplicated epilepsy between 1993 and 1997.

The found that 39 percent had excellent seizure control. These participants experienced no seizures in the year that followed their diagnosis.

Twenty-three percent had good epileptic seizure control. These patients experienced no seizures up to five years following their diagnosis.

Almost 30 percent had seizures every now and then but they responded well to medication. Lastly, eight percent had repeated seizures that are resistant to drugs.

When the researchers analyzed them as young adults, over 90 percent of the patients with excellent seizure control were either in college or had part-time or full-time jobs compared to the 60 percent of the participants who had poor seizure control.

Over 90 percent of patients with excellent or good seizure control owned a driver's license. While only 60 percent of patients with poor seizure control had the same. Patients with learning difficulties were almost 50 percent more likely to not have jobs.

Independent of their seizure control abilities, patients who suffered from depression, anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder or other psychiatric, emotional and behavioral conditions were 60 percent less likely to finish college. These patients were also 50 percent less likely to live outside of their family homes.

Moreover, seizure control abilities did not affect the risks of getting into trouble with law enforcements. Epileptic patients who also had disruptive behavioral disorders, including oppositional defiant disorder, had almost a three-fold increased chance of running into law troubles.

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