Cognitive impairment in tuberous sclerosis complex is a multifactorial condition

FE Jansen, KL Vincken, A Algra, P Anbeek, O Braams, Mark Nellist, BA Zonnenberg, A Jennekens-Schinkel, Ans van den Ouweland, Dicky Halley, AC van Huffelen, O van Nieuwenhuizen

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Objective: In patients with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), associations between tuber number, infantile spasms, and cognitive impairment have been proposed. We hypothesized that the tuber/brain proportion (TBP), the proportion of the total brain volume occupied by tubers, would be a better determinant of seizures and cognitive function than the number of tubers. We investigated tuber load, seizures, and cognitive function and their relationships. Methods: Tuber number and TBP were characterized on three-dimensional fluid-attenuated inversion recovery MRI with an automated tuber segmentation program. Seizure histories and EEG recordings were obtained. Intelligence equivalents were determined and an individual cognition index (a marker of cognition that incorporated multiple cognitive domains) was calculated. Results: In our sample of 61 patients with TSC, TBP was inversely related to the age at seizure onset and to the intelligence equivalent and tended to be inversely related to the cognition index. Further, a younger age at seizure onset or a history of infantile spasms was related to lower intelligence and lower cognition index. In a multivariable analysis, only age at seizure onset and cognition index were related. Conclusions: Our systematic analysis confirms proposed relationships between tuber load, epilepsy and cognitive function in tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), but also indicates that tuber/brain proportion is a better predictor of cognitive function than tuber number and that age at seizure onset is the only independent determinant of cognitive function. Seizure control should be the principal neurointervention in patients with TSC.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)916-923
Number of pages8
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Research programs

  • EMC MGC-02-96-01

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