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Acquired Epileptic Aphasia

Background

Acquired epileptic aphasia (AEA) typically develops in healthy children who acutely or progressively lose receptive and expressive language ability coincident with the appearance of paroxysmal electroencephalographic (EEG) changes. In 1957, Landau and Kleffner initially described acquired epileptic aphasia and subsequently reluctantly agreed to the attachment of their names to the syndrome. In this article, acquired epileptic aphasia is used as a synonym for Landau-Kleffner syndrome (LKS).

In most cases described in detail, a clearly normal period of motor and language development occurs before acquired epileptic aphasia symptoms appear. However, in the last 2-3 decades, several reported cases have been difficult to classify, because the patients’ presenting symptoms appear to have been variants of those originally described. In one case, expressive language deteriorated instead of receptive language, whereas in another case, a brief period of normal language development (single words) was followed by language regression with abnormal EEG findings.

Acquired epileptic aphasia must be differentiated from autism with minimal language regression, especially when it is associated with isolated EEG abnormalities. Many current researchers classify acquired epileptic aphasia as part of the syndrome of electrical status epilepticus of sleep (ESES), which is also known as continuous spike and wave of slow-wave sleep (CSWS) as initially described by Patry et al 1971.

See also the following:

Benign Neonatal Convulsions

Epilepsy and Seizures

Epileptic and Epileptiform Encephalopathies

Autism

PET Scanning in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Benign Childhood Epilepsy

Epilepsy Surgery

Epileptiform Normal Variants on EEG

First Pediatric Seizure

Neuroimaging Epilepsy

Outcome of Epilepsy Surgery

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