Frontal cognitive dysfunction in juvenile myoclonic epilepsy


Address correspondence to Ada Piazzini, Epilepsy Center, St. Paolo Hospital, Via A. Di Rudinì 8, 20142 Milan, Italy. E-mail:


Purpose: The aim of the present study was to investigate the possible frontal cognitive dysfunction in patients with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) and to compare the results with those of patients with frontal lobe epilepsy (FLE) and temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), as well as with controls.

Methods: A total of 50 patients with JME, 40 patients with FLE, 40 patients with TLE, and 40 normal controls, all matched for age, education, and IQ, were administered tests to assess frontal functions (the Word Fluency Test and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test [WCST]). All participants had a normal intelligence level based on the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, and did not take medications other than antiepileptics (AEDs) or have a psychiatric history.

Results: Patients with JME had severe impairment in all administered tasks, similar to that of patients with FLE; TLE patients and controls followed in order. Multiple regression analysis did not disclose any significant effect of clinical variables on the cognitive deficits.

Discussion: These results clearly suggest that JME patients can show some frontal dysfunction, which may affect both epileptogenic features and cognitive processes. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings.