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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A clinical comparative study evaluating the effect of epilepsy versus ADHD on timed cognitive tasks in children.

Both children with epilepsy and children with ADHD may be characterized by slowing on reaction-time measurement. This is of particular interest, as neuropsychological assessment is often requested in the differential diagnosis between children with short non-convulsive epileptic seizures and children with ADHD. In this study we attempt to identify patterns of impairment on timed tasks that are specific for epilepsy, relative to ADHD. This study was an open, controlled parallel-group clinical investigation which included two groups of patients: 60 children with ADHD and 60 children with epilepsy. These children were compared with a control group (n=30) on two types of timed cognitive tasks: tasks with low information load (simple reaction-time measurement) and tasks with high information load (multiple decision reaction-time measurement). The simple reaction-time measurements show significant differences between ADHD and controls (all except for visual RT non-dominant hand) and between epilepsy and controls (only one test). No significant differences were found between epilepsy and ADHD. The two tests with high information load show significant slowing compared with the controls for epilepsy on the Binary Choice Reaction-Time Test and for ADHD on the Visual Searching Test. On both tests also the differences between epilepsy and ADHD are significant. The two tests in combination have a relatively satisfactory potential to classify the children with ADHD (75% correct classification) and the children with epilepsy (55% correct classification). We may conclude that complex reaction-time tests (i.e., timed tasks with high information load) have potential for assessing the differential impact of ADHD and epilepsy on attentional function. These tasks specifically reveal general slowing for children with epilepsy and slowing as an effect of failures of inhibitory self control on unstructured tasks for ADHD.[1]


  1. A clinical comparative study evaluating the effect of epilepsy versus ADHD on timed cognitive tasks in children. Aldenkamp, A., van Bronswijk, K., Braken, M., Diepman, L.A., Verwey, L.E., van den Wittenboer, G. Child neuropsychology : a journal on normal and abnormal development in childhood and adolescence. (2000) [Pubmed]
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