Course Title: CE 6. Primary and Treatment Related Comorbidities in Pediatric and Adult Epilepsies: Revising our Understanding of the Relationships


Credit Hours: 3.0


Instructor(s) Bruce P. Hermann, PhD Madison M. Berl, PhD David W. Loring, PhD


Primary and Treatment Related Comorbidities in Pediatric and Adult Epilepsies: Revising our Understanding of the Relationships

Abstract & Learning Objectives

Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder affecting people throughout the lifespan with epidemiological peaks in childhood and older adulthood.  In addition to the underlying disease substrate giving rise to seizures, the epilepsies can be complicated by diverse cognitive, behavioral, and social comorbidities that diminish quality of life and lifespan achievement. Recent major advances include a revised classification of seizures and epilepsy syndromes, improved understanding of the epidemiology of the comorbidities including their timing and course, improved interventions including epilepsy surgery, and an enhanced understanding of the diverse influences of the epilepsies and their treatment on normal neurodevelopmental and aging processes. This workshop will present an integrated overview of the epilepsies, its treatment, and problematic neurobehavioral comorbidities and their underlying neurobiological substrate in children, adolescents and adults.

Bruce P. Hermann, PhD

Bruce P. Hermann, PhD

Professor and Director
Matthews Neuropsychology Section
Department of Neurology
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Madison WI

Madison M. Berl, PhD

Madison M. Berl, PhD

Associate Professor
Depts of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
George Washington University School of Medicine and
Children's National Health System, Washington, DC, USA

David W. Loring, PhD

David W. Loring, PhD

Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics
Emory University
Atlanta GA

At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:
1. Describe the changing conceptualization of epilepsy syndromes in children and adults.
2. Explain the contribution of neuropsychology's use as a safety variable that characterizes negative cognitive side effects and which is a significant component of the risks vs. benefit discussion when evaluating current and emerging treatment options.
3. List distinctions between primary and secondary comorbidities and the evidence regarding the temporal sequence of their emergence with epilepsy and the pertinent underlying etiologies.
4. Describe the systematic effects of epilepsy and its treatment on normal neurodevelopmental and aging processes (imaging, cognition, behavior).

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Speaker Biographies

Bruce Hermann, PhD

Bruce Hermann is Professor and Director of the Charles Matthews Neuropsychology Laboratory in the Department of Neurology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. He has a longstanding interest in the neuropsychological and behavioral effects of epilepsy and epilepsy surgery in children and adults. For the past 15 years he and his research group has focused their efforts in two areas: 1) characterizing the cognitive, psychiatric and neuroimaging abnormalities of adults with chronic temporal lobe epilepsy and following their course prospectively, and 2) characterizing the natural history of cognitive, psychiatric and neuroimaging abnormalities in children with new onset epilepsies and the effects of epilepsy on their neurodevelopmental trajectories. Dr. Hermann currently serves as Treasurer for the International Neuropsychological Society and sits on the Board of Directors of the American Epilepsy Society.

Madison Berl, PhD

Madison Berl, Ph.D. is a licensed pediatric neuropsychologist and faculty member of the Division of Pediatric Neuropsychology at Children’s National Health System (CNHP). She is the neuropsychologist for the Comprehensive Pediatric Epilepsy Program (CPEP). She is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at The George Washington University School of Medicine, the Associate Director of T32 Fellowship Program and the Neurobehavioral Core of the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC) at CNHP. She serves on scientific and organizing committees within the American Epilepsy Society and International League Against Epilepsy. Her research interests include the effects of medical conditions and treatments on neuropsychological functioning in children. Specifically, she is investigating the relationship between working memory and language in children with epilepsy using fMRI and DTI.

Dr. Berl received her doctorate in clinical psychology from George Mason University. She completed her predoctoral internship at Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and a three-year postdoctoral research and clinical fellowship in pediatric neuropsychology at CNHP. She earned her undergraduate degree in psychobiology at the University of California at Los Angeles.

David W. Loring, PhD

David W. Loring is Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at Emory University, and is the Director of Neuropsychology Program in the Neurology Department. He was the 2009 recipient of the Distinguished Lifetime Contributions to Neuropsychology Award from the National Academy of Neuropsychology. Dr. Loring is the Principal Investigator of the multi-center project entitled “Cognitive AED Outcomes in Pediatric Localization Related Epilepsy (COPE),” funded by PCORI, and is Adult Neuropsychology Core Director for “Maternal Outcomes and Neurodevelopmental Effects of Antiepileptic Drugs (MONEAD),” funded by NINDS. He is an Associate Editor for Epilepsia, is a member of the NINDS Common Data Elements Steering Committee, and is the Editor for the forthcoming INS Dictionary of Neuropsychology and Clinical Neurosciences (2nd edition).