Auditory attention at the onset of West syndrome: correlation with EEG patterns and visual function,Brain Dev, 5 (28), 293-299.
At the onset of West syndrome a specific impairment of visual function has been clearly demonstrated, while other aspects of sensorial development, and in particular of the auditory function, have been less studied. The aim of this study was to evaluate auditory function and orienting responses at the onset of West syndrome, and to relate the results with EEG patterns, visual function and neurodevelopmental competence. A prospective multicentric study was performed on 25 successively enrolled infants with West syndrome; all the patients underwent a full clinical assessment, including MRI and video-EEG, visual function and auditory orienting responses (AORs) as well as Griffiths’ developmental scales. The whole assessment performed at the onset of spasms (T0) was repeated after two months (T1). AORs resulted significantly impaired both at T0 and T1. At the onset of spasms a highly significant relationship of auditory attention with visual function and neurodevelopmental competence was shown in both cryptogenic and symptomatic forms, but it was no longer present after two months. Our results may suggest a possible pervasive effect of the epileptic disorder on sensory processing, associated to a deficit of neurodevelopment. Although we failed to show a significant correlation between auditory orienting responses and EEG patterns, some evidence seems to support at least partially an influence of the epileptic disorder per se on the genesis of the sensorial impairment. A longer follow up and a larger cohort will be useful for a better clarification of these findings.