A seizure happens as a result of unusual electrical activity in the brain, which is also called epileptiform activity. When a child has poorly controlled seizures as well as learning difficulties, there can also be abnormal electrical (epileptiform) discharges in-between seizures which can affect vital learning pathways.
This epileptiform activity occurring in-between seizures are called interictal discharges, meaning electrical discharges in-between seizures. They are seizure-like discharges, shorter lasting than a seizure, but can affect learning if happening regularly. This means children who have good seizure control or only occasional seizures can still have learning difficulties because they may be having this seizure-like activity in the brain with no obvious or apparent seizure. Thinking and learning can be temporarily affected, and the child’s responses disrupted at these times. Sometimes the ‘disruptions’ may be very subtle.
These interictal electrical discharges can impact the child’s attention, behaviour, memory and language.
Click on the video to hear Dr Stephen Malone, Paediatric Neurologist and Epileptologist, define subclinical seizures.
Abnormal activity in-between seizures