The factors affecting the social development of adults with childhood-onset epilepsy have been outlined in a new study.Led by scientists at the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, the research aimed to examine the reasons why people who are diagnosed with epilepsy during childhood generally show poorer social development in adulthood. The group was particularly interested in the relative contributions of seizures and learning & psychiatric issues to this outcome.During the study, the independent influences of psychiatric and learning disorders and seizure trends on a range of social outcomes were analysed in 241 young adults between the ages of 22 and 35.According to the results, which are published in the medical journal Pediatrics, people with better seizure control were more likely to have completed their college education, found a job, pursued a degree or learned to drive.Reduced seizure control was associated with a greater likelihood of having offspring, particularly in women without partners.Learning problems and psychiatric disorders, either alone or together, were shown to have a negative impact on all but two of the social outcomes assessed.The researchers concluded: “In young adults with uncomplicated epilepsy, the course of seizures contributed primarily to education, employment and driving. A history of learning problems and psychiatric disorders adversely influenced most adult outcomes.”These findings identify potential reasons for vocational and social difficulties encountered by young adults with childhood epilepsy and areas to target for counselling and transition planning.”Epilepsy can emerge at any age, but is most often diagnosed during childhood. The condition is estimated to affect more than 600,000 people in the UK, with around 60,000 of this total being youngsters under the age of 18.Click here to read more stories about living with epilepsy.