Purpose: Benign childhood epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes (BECTS) is the most common epilepsy syndrome of childhood and can be associated with language difficulties. The exact profile of these difficulties and their neurofunctional underpinnings, however, are not yet clear.
Methods: To further understand the impact of the BECTS syndrome on language, we assessed language performance using standard neuropsychological measures, and patterns of language lateralization using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in children with typical BECTS (n = 20) and healthy controls (n = 20).
Results: The fMRI analyses revealed that language-related activation was less lateralized to the left hemisphere in anterior brain regions in the patients relative to the control group. This finding was consistent with decreased performance in the BECTS group compared to the control group on the neuropsychological measure most dependent on the integrity of anterior aspects of the language axis, namely, sentence production.
Discussion: The converging lines of evidence from the neuropsychological and activation methodologies support the view that BECTS is associated with language difficulties that are regional, and anterior, in nature.