n South African Journal of Child Health - Poor academic performance among adolescents with epilepsy in Kaduna, Northern Nigeria : a case-control study




Adolescents with epilepsy experience significant academic difficulties. However, little is known about the effects of epilepsy on the academic performance of adolescents with the disorder in Northern Nigeria.

To assess the academic performance of adolescents with epilepsy and factors associated with poor performance in this population in a Northern Nigerian setting.
The socio-demographic/clinical characteristics of 77 consecutive adolescents (aged 12 - 17 years) with epilepsy attending the Child and Adolescent Clinic of Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Kaduna, North-West, between March 2008 and September 2010 and the socio-demographic characteristics of 76 controls (matched for age and sex) were recorded. Information concerning school attendance and academic performance of the subjects and the controls were obtained from the adolescents and their parents or caregivers.
The mean ages of the subjects and the controls were 15.1 (standard deviation (SD) 2.1) and 14.7 (SD 1.7) years, respectively (>0.05), the mean duration of illness was 6.1 (SD 4.6) years, the mean seizure-free period was 16.8 (SD 15.6) weeks, and 64.9% of the subjects and 57.9% of the controls were males. Forty-six subjects (59.7%) and 12 controls (15.8%) had poor academic performance (<0.001). Long duration of illness, short seizure-free periods and irregular school attendance were significantly associated with poor academic performance (<0.05).
Poor academic performance is common among adolescents with epilepsy and is associated with early onset, poor seizure control and missing school. Efforts should be made to control seizures and educate society about the illness.


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