Executive functioning in children with self-limited epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Inês Duarte da Seixas Ramos, Carolina Vanessa Gomes Coelho, Filipa Ribeiro, Ana Filipa Lopes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Self-limited epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes (ECTS) is one of the most frequent focal epilepsies amongst children. Because remission usually occurs before 16 years old and patients present infrequent clinical manifestation, ECTS was considered benign for a long time. Despite the reports on cognitive deficits associated with ECTS in the last years, knowledge about the condition’s specific executive function domains (inhibitory control, working memory, cognitive flexibility, verbal fluency, and higher-order executive functions) is still lacking. The following systematic review was conducted according to PRISMA guidelines. The PubMed and Scopus databases and gray literature were searched according to the following eligibility criteria: (1) original articles published in peer-review journals; (2) studies that present assessment of children with ECTS; and (3) studies with an available assessment of the executive function of the participants. A total of 43 studies (1179 patients and 1086 healthy controls) met the inclusion criteria. Data from 19 studies were extracted, and meta-analysis methods were used to compare results in the three main executive function domains and verbal fluency. The study quality was measured through the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale (NOS) and the evidence quality with the GRADEpro tool. Results and conclusions: The present systematic review is the first to gather information about executive functioning in children with ECTS. According to the meta-analyses, children with ECTS show weaker performances when compared with a control group in inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility, and verbal fluency. However, because the quality of evidence was classified as very low, caution is needed when interpreting the strength of the results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-60
Number of pages31
JournalChild Neuropsychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Cognitive flexibility
  • Executive functions
  • Inhibitory control
  • Self-limited epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes
  • Working memory


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