Risk factors for reading disability in families with rolandic epilepsy

Yaiza Hernández Vega, Anna Smith, Hannah Cockerill, Shan Tang, Zaloa Agirre-Arrizubieta, Sushma Goyal, Marisa Pina, Cigdem I. Akman, Nicola Jolleff, Colm McGinnity, Kumudini Gomez, Rajesh Gupta, Elaine Hughes, John Jackman, David McCormick, Caroline Oren, David Scott, Jacqueline Taylor, John Trounce, Tara ClarkeSteven Kugler, David E. Mandelbaum, Patricia McGoldrick, Steven Wolf, Lisa J. Strug, Deb K. Pal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The high prevalence and impact of neurodevelopmental comorbidities in childhood epilepsy are now well known, as are the increased risks and familial aggregation of reading disability (RD) and speech sound disorder (SSD) in rolandic epilepsy (RE). The risk factors for RD in the general population include male sex, SSD, and ADHD, but it is not known if these are the same in RE or whether there is a contributory role of seizure and treatment-related variables. Methods: An observational study of 108 probands with RE (age range: 3.6-22. years) and their 159 siblings (age range: 1-29. years; 83 with EEG data) were singly ascertained in the US or UK through a proband affected by RE. We used a nested case-control design, multiple logistic regression, and generalized estimating equations to test the hypothesis of an association between RD and seizure variables or antiepileptic drug treatment in RE; we also assessed an association between EEG focal sharp waves and RD in siblings. Results: Reading disability was reported in 42% of probands and 22% of siblings. Among probands, RD was strongly associated with a history of SSD (OR: 9.64, 95% CI: 2.45-37.21), ADHD symptoms (OR: 10.31, 95% CI: 2.15-49.44), and male sex (OR: 3.62, 95% CI: 1.11-11.75) but not with seizure or treatment variables. Among siblings, RD was independently associated only with SSD (OR: 4.30, 95% CI: 1.42-13.0) and not with the presence of interictal EEG focal sharp waves. Significance: The principal risk factors for RD in RE are SSD, ADHD, and male sex, the same risk factors as for RD without epilepsy. Seizure or treatment variables do not appear to be important risk factors for RD in probands with RE, and there was no evidence to support interictal EEG focal sharp waves as a risk factor for RD in siblings. Future studies should focus on the precise neuropsychological characterization of RD in families with RE and on the effectiveness of standard oral-language and reading interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-179
Number of pages6
JournalEpilepsy & Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


  • Comorbidity
  • Epilepsy
  • Etiology
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Reading


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