Memory, executive skills, and psychosocial phenotype in children with pharmacoresponsive epilepsy: Reactivity to intervention

Yael Schaffer, Bruria Ben Zeev, Roni Cohen, Avinoam Shufer, Ronny Geva

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2 Scopus citations


Background: Recent studies on pharmacoresponsive epilepsies demonstrate specific memory, executive functions (EF), and psychosocial deficits in this group. These deficits are often undertreated, and little is known about the neuropsychological factors that may support moderation of the deficits through intervention. The aim of this study was to explore the effects of a structured cognitive behavioral group intervention on both memory and emotional domains and to evaluate the factors influencing its efficacy. Methods: The feasibility study implemented a newly designed intervention for children with pharmacoresponsive epilepsies (N = 33, aged 9-14 years, 51% girls), hypothesizing that memory and psychosocial symptoms in children with pharmacoresponsive epilepsies are sensitive to intervention using structured memory and psychosocial modules in a weekly group session setting. Comparable memory and psychosocial assessments were used to evaluate performance at baseline and post-intervention. Results were compared to age- and education-matched healthy controls (N = 27, aged 9-14 years). Results: Pre-post-intervention comparisons show improvements in STM (p < 0.01, η2 = 0.358), optimism (p < 0.05, η2 = 0.245), and self-efficacy (p < 0.05, η2 = 0.164). Unique negative relations between memory deficits and psychosocial phenotype were seen in epilepsy patients and not in controls in response to the intervention. EF moderated this intervention effect (p < 0.05, η2 = 0.252), whereas psychosocial status and pharmacological profile did not. Conclusion: Cognitive behavioral therapy focusing on memory and psychosocial perceptions for children with pharmacoresponsive epilepsies seems promising, with greater improvement in memory and psychosocial functioning in children with more affected EF.

Original languageEnglish
Article number86
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Issue numberAPR
StatePublished - 21 Apr 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Schaffer, Ben Zeev, Cohen, Shufer and Geva.


  • Memory intervention
  • Pediatric pharmacoresponsive epilepsies
  • Psychosocial
  • Rehabilitation
  • Short-term memory
  • Verbal memory


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