The authors of a recent study recommend that executive functioning (the set of skills that allows people to plan, organise and complete tasks) be assessed and ‘targeted’ in children with drug-resistant epilepsy. They also call for further research to find out what the best targeting methods might be.Executive functioning in children is tightly linked to cognition (the ability to think), and poor control of executive functioning may lead to weaknesses in areas that depend on skills such as memory and reading, for example academic achievement. It is known that children with epilepsy are vulnerable to executive dysfunction; however this is the first study to properly explore the relationship between executive functioning and quality of life.During the investigation, researchers from Australia and the US carried out tests to measure the intellectual quotient (IQ) of 54 children with drug-resistant epilepsy, who were candidates for surgery. Parents were asked to complete ‘Quality of Life in Childhood Epilepsy’ (QOLCE) and ‘Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function’ (BRIEF) questionnaires, rating their child’s quality of life and executive function.When analysing the results, the scientists needed to take into consideration factors that might have their own influence on quality of life or even executive ability (e.g. IQ, seizure frequency, an earlier age of epilepsy onset, taking more epilepsy drugs). They report that, based on their data, clinically impaired executive function was linked to almost a 10 fold increased risk of a poor quality of life.The authors conclude that the identification of executive dysfunction at home is an essential part of pre-surgical evaluation, and that targeting this area for intervention may improve the quality of life of these children.Author: Dr Özge ÖzkayaClick here for more news articles about epilepsy in children.