young girl

CE Love, F Webbe, G Kim, et al., Epilepsy & Behavior, 2016;64 (Part A):37-43.


For some children with epilepsy, seizures are not controlled even after many seizure medicines are tried - this is referred to as intractable or refractory epilepsy. Studies have shown that children with intractable epilepsy have a poorer quality of life compared to children who are healthy or even those that have other chronic health conditions.

Executive functioning is a set of skills such as memorizing, planning, prioritizing, controlling emotions, and making decisions that are important in daily life.

  • This study looked at the relationship between executive functioning and quality of life in children with intractable epilepsy.
  • The authors looked at information about seizures and seizure medications to see if they affected executive functioning in these children with epilepsy.

Description of Study

  • 54 children and adolescents between the ages of 6 and 18 years 
  • Parents or legal guardians were given questionnaires to assess quality of life and executive functioning
  • Seizure information was also collected

Summary of Study Findings

  • Problems with executive functioning were related to a poorer quality of life in children with intractable epilepsy.
  • The type of seizures were not associated with changes in quality of life. That is, whether the children had focal or generalized epilepsy did not make a difference.

What does this mean?

  • Healthcare professionals should consider a child’s executive functioning when asking about daily life as well as seizures.
  • Children with these problems may benefit from care and services for cognitive problems and behavior.

Article published in Epilepsy & Behavior, November 2016.

Authored By: 
Sloka Iyengar PhD
Authored Date: 
Reviewed By: 
Joseph I. Sirven MD
Thursday, December 22, 2016