Purpose: Cognitive impairment is a common comorbidity of epilepsy; however, relatively little research has been undertaken to investigate how cognitive problems develop in adults who are newly diagnosed. This study aimed to investigate changes in cognitive performance in adults with new-onset epilepsy 12 months after diagnosis compared with healthy volunteers. Methods: One hundred forty-seven people with epilepsy (PWE) were assessed using a comprehensive neuropsychological test battery before they started treatment and after 12 months. Cognitive change scores were compared with 69 healthy volunteers who were also assessed at baseline and after 12 months. Key Findings: At 12 month follow-up, PWE had significantly poorer change scores for 9 of the 16 variables. For the majority of these measures, PWE had subtle declines in performance, whereas healthy volunteers improved. Poorer performance on some measures was associated with treatment with topiramate, generalized seizures and, interestingly, achieving an immediate 12-month seizure remission. Significance: After controlling for statistically confounding factors, people with newly diagnosed epilepsy had a different cognitive trajectory compared with healthy volunteers from the general population. Memory, psychomotor speed, and higher executive functioning were the domains most vulnerable to change over a 12-month period.
- Newly diagnosed epilepsy