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Minerva Pediatrica 2015 December;67(6):505-15


language: Italian

Neurological and neuropsychological comparison between subjects with learning disorder and those suffering from learning difficulties when EEG abnormalities are detected at pediatric age

Borsetti L., Viberti B., Ariano C., Isocrono A.

Struttura Operativa Complessa di Neuropsichiatria Infantile 1, Dipartimento Materno Infantile, Azienda Sanitaria Locale Torino 2, Torino, Italia


AIM: The objective of the study is to compare data and investigate the points of overlap between the two clinical conditions. The hypothesis is to observe a similar cognitive and neuropsychological profile in LD children and subjects with electroencephalogram (EEG) abnormalities.
METHODS: The present study consists of a descriptive analysis of 35 children who have been tested for suspected learning disorder (LD). The diagnostic protocol includes a detailed cognitive and neuropsychological evaluation, as well as logopedic and neuropsychomotor assessment. Children carried neurological visit, EEG in waking and encephalic nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). In this study, anamnestic data and the results of some of the neuropsychological tests were administrated to children and subsequently were analyzed. Depending on EEG report (positive or negative), subjects were split in two subsample: subjects with “pure” LD and subjects who showed significant paroxysmal abnormalities at the EEG.
RESULTS: This comparison shows that the profile of the two subsamples matches for many aspects. The only statistically significant differences are the increased impairment of meta-phonological skills and reading speed in children with EEG abnormalities. On the other hand, children with “pure” LD are inclined to manifest more frequently difficulties in highly-modularized processes, such as counting.
CONCLUSION: In conclusion, the substantial overlap of the two profiles causes a reflection about the difficulty in making differential diagnosis in children who show a suspected LD, in absence of an accurate neurophysiological and neuroradiological investigation. The study did not find out useful markers to select subjects who should carry EEG and encephalic NMR. Our team established to keep EEG in waking in the diagnostic protocol, for all children with LD diagnosis. Only in case of abnormalities at the track, we prescribed EEG in sleeping and encephalic NMR.

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