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Sleep disturbances in children with epilepsy compared with their nearest-aged siblings

  • Elaine Wirrell (a1), Marlene Blackman (a2), Karen Barlow (a3), Jean Mah (a1) and Lorie Hamiwka (a1)...

Abstract

The aim of the study was to compare sleep patterns in children with epilepsy with those of their non-epileptic siblings and to determine which epilepsy-specific factors predict greater sleep disturbance. We conducted a case-control study of 55 children with epilepsy (mean age 10y, range 4 to 16y; 27 males, 28 females) and their nearest-aged non-epileptic sibling (mean age 10y, range 4 to 18y; 26 males, 29 females). Epilepsy was idiopathic generalized in eight children (15%), symptomatic generalized in seven (13%), and focal in 40 (73%); the mean duration was 5 years 8 months. Parents or caregivers completed the Sleep Behavior Questionnaire (SBQ) and Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) for patients and controls, and the Quality of Life in Childhood Epilepsy (QOLCE) for patients. Patients had a higher (more adverse) Total Sleep score (p<0.001) and scored worse than controls on nearly all subscales of the SBQ. In patients, higher Total Sleep scores were correlated with higher scores on the Withdrawn, Somatic complaints, Social problems, and Attention subscales of the CBCL, and significantly lower Total Quality of Life Scores. Refractory epilepsy, mental retardation, and remote symptomatic etiology predicted greater sleep problems in those with epilepsy. We conclude that children with epilepsy in this current study had significantly greater sleep problems than their non-epileptic siblings.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Alberta Children's Hospital, 1820 Richmond Road SW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2T 5C7. E-mail: elaine.wirrell@calgaryhealthregion.ca

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