John Libbey Eurotext

Visual and auditory socio-cognitive perception in unilateral temporal lobe epilepsy in children and adolescents: a prospective controlled study Volume 16, numéro 4, December 2014


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1 Epilepsy, Sleep, Paediatric Neurophysiology Department, Hôpital Femme Mère Enfant, University Hospitals of Lyon (HCL), Lyon
2 Paris Descartes University, Laboratory of Psychology and Perception, Paris
3 DYCOG Team, Lyon Neuroscience Research Centre (CRNL), INSERM U1028, CNRS UMR5292, Lyon
4 Instituto de Neurología Infanto Juvenil, CETES, Cordoba, Argentina
5 Epilepsy Unit, Neurology Department, Grenoble University Hospital, Grenoble
6 Functional Neurology and Epileptology Department, Pierre Wertheimer Hospital, University Hospitals of Lyon (HCL)
7 Department of Neurology, University Hospital of Strasbourg (HUS), Strasbourg, France
* Correspondence: Agathe Laurent Epilepsy, Sleep and Paediatric Neurophysiology Department, c/o Alexis Arzimanoglou, Hôpital Femme Mère Enfant, 59 Boulevard Pinel, 69500, Lyon, France

Aim. A high rate of abnormal social behavioural traits or perceptual deficits is observed in children with unilateral temporal lobe epilepsy. In the present study, perception of auditory and visual social signals, carried by faces and voices, was evaluated in children or adolescents with temporal lobe epilepsy.

Methods. We prospectively investigated a sample of 62 children with focal non-idiopathic epilepsy early in the course of the disorder. The present analysis included 39 children with a confirmed diagnosis of temporal lobe epilepsy. Control participants (72), distributed across 10 age groups, served as a control group. Our socio-perceptual evaluation protocol comprised three socio-visual tasks (face identity, facial emotion and gaze direction recognition), two socio-auditory tasks (voice identity and emotional prosody recognition), and three control tasks (lip reading, geometrical pattern and linguistic intonation recognition). All 39 patients also benefited from a neuropsychological examination.

Results. As a group, children with temporal lobe epilepsy performed at a significantly lower level compared to the control group with regards to recognition of facial identity, direction of eye gaze, and emotional facial expressions. We found no relationship between the type of visual deficit and age at first seizure, duration of epilepsy, or the epilepsy-affected cerebral hemisphere. Deficits in socio-perceptual tasks could be found independently of the presence of deficits in visual or auditory episodic memory, visual non-facial pattern processing (control tasks), or speech perception. A normal FSIQ did not exempt some of the patients from an underlying deficit in some of the socio-perceptual tasks.

Conclusion. Temporal lobe epilepsy not only impairs development of emotion recognition, but can also impair development of perception of other socio-perceptual signals in children with or without intellectual deficiency. Prospective studies need to be designed to evaluate the results of appropriate re-education programs in children presenting with deficits in social cue processing.