Reading in children with drug-resistant epilepsy was related to functional connectivity in cognitive control regions

Kraus, D., Vannest, J., Arya, R., Hutton, J. S., Leach, J. L., Mangano, F. T., … & Horowitz‐Kraus, T. (2020). Reading in children with drug‐resistant epilepsy was related to functional connectivity in cognitive control regions. Acta Paediatrica.


Aim: This study aimed to define whether individuals with drug-resistant focal epilepsy also used regions related to cognitive control to facilitate reading.

Methods: We focused on patients with drug-resistant focal epilepsy in 2011-2014, who were aged 8-20 years and were being treated at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital, USA. They performed a verb generation functional magnetic resonance imaging task known to involve language and cognitive control, as well as a formal reading assessment. The reading scores were correlated with functional connectivity of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) using seed-to-voxel analysis.

Results: There were 81 potential patients and 13 (seven females) met the inclusion criteria. Their age at seizure onset was 0-13 years, and they had a mean age of 12.66 ± 3.17 years at the time of the study. Individuals with epilepsy demonstrated average intelligence and word reading ability. Their reading scores were positively correlated with functional connectivity between the ACC and regions related to emotional processing (right amygdala), learning and language processing (left cerebellum) and visual processing.

Conclusion: Our results support the role that the ACC plays in proficient reading among children with drug-resistant epilepsy, even in those with epileptogenic foci in areas related to language