Mental slowing in relation to epilepsy and antiepileptic medication

E. Grevers, L. E.M. Breuer, D. M. IJff, A. P. Aldenkamp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
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Objectives: Slowing of the central information-processing speed (CIPS) is frequently observed in epilepsy as a consequence of epileptic seizures and/or antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). A variety of neuropsychological tests are used to asses this ‘mental slowing,’ but it is highly questionable whether the different tasks measure the same cognitive process. Also, it remains unspecified to which degree the various tasks are sensitive to seizure- or treatment-related factors, or both. Methods: We used an open clinical non-comparative study design. The sample consisted of adult patients with cryptogenic localization-related epilepsy who performed different cognitive measures of CIPS and psychomotor speed (PmS). Clinical data about their seizures and antiepileptic drug treatment were collected from an electronic patient database. Results: Eighty patients were included. CIPS tasks mutually correlated significantly, but did not correlate with measures of PmS (finger tapping and reaction time). Also, the CIPS tasks were differently affected by treatment and seizure effects. Processing of complex information is affected by tonic–clonic seizures, while less complex tasks are more sensitive for AED effects. Conclusions: CIPS tasks are mainly measuring central processing, and the psychomotor component of these tasks is negligible. We propose a psychometric continuum on which PmS and CIPS tasks are ordered with ascending complexity. The model shows that the tasks are affected differently by seizures, treatment, age, and education level. In neuropsychological practice, this continuum can be helpful in the detection of treatment and seizure effects on the CIPS in epilepsy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-122
Number of pages7
JournalActa Neurologica Scandinavica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • antiepileptic drugs
  • central information-processing speed
  • cognitive measures
  • epileptic seizures
  • psychomotor speed


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