Mental retardation and relation to seizure and tuber burden in tuberous sclerosis complex

Charles M. Zaroff, William B. Barr, Chad Carlson, Josiane LaJoie, Deepak Madhavan, Daniel K. Miles, Ruth Nass, Orrin Devinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


In patients with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), the high rates of mental retardation are associated with cortical tubers, seizure activity, and genetic factors. The goal of the study was to investigate the relationship between bilateral cortical tubers and seizure variables and mental retardation in individuals with TSC. The records of 27 patients with TSC (age 6 months to 33 years) undergoing neuropsychological assessment and the following clinical variables were examined: bilateral versus non-bilateral cortical tubers, the age of seizure onset, and presence of infantile spasms. Results were statistically analyzed. Bilateral cortical tubers (p = 0.02) and early age of seizure onset (p = 0.04) were significantly related to impaired cognitive functioning. Only one of the seven patients with normal cognitive functioning had bilateral tubers, whereas 13/21 patients with intellectual impairment had bilateral tubers. Patients with normal cognitive functioning experienced a mean age of seizure onset after 6 years. A trend was observed between infantile spasms and cognitive functioning (p = 0.06); the lack of statistical significance likely reflects the small sample size. Neither age nor gender was related to cognitive status. Further investigation incorporating additional neuroimaging factors, antiepileptic treatment effects, and genetic variables, is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)558-562
Number of pages5
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2006


  • Autism
  • Bilateral
  • Epilepsy
  • Infantile spasms
  • Mental retardation
  • Neuropsychology
  • Tuberous sclerosis complex
  • Tubers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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