NINDS Landau-Kleffner Syndrome Information Page
By: National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Synonym: Acquired Epileptiform Aphasia
Reprinted with permission of National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke as originally published on their Website
What is Landau-Kleffner Syndrome?
Landau-Kleffner syndrome (LKS) is a rare, childhood neurological disorder characterized by the sudden or gradual development of aphasia (the inability to understand or express language) and an abnormal electro-encephalogram (EEG). LKS affects the parts of the brain that control comprehension and speech. The disorder usually occurs in children between the ages of 5 and 7 years. Typically, children with LKS develop normally but then lose their language skills for no apparent reason. While many of the affected individuals have seizures, some do not. The disorder is difficult to diagnose and may be misdiagnosed as autism, pervasive developmental disorder, hearing impairment, learning disability, auditory/verbal processing disorder, attention deficit disorder, mental retardation, childhood schizophrenia, or emotional/behavioral problems.
Is there any treatment?
Treatment for LKS usually consists of medications, such as anticonvulsants and corticosteroids, and speech therapy, which should be started early. A controversial treatment option involves a surgical technique called multiple subpial transection in which the pathways of abnormal electrical brain activity are severed
What is the prognosis?
The prognosis for children with LKS varies. Some affected children may have a permanent severe language disorder, while others may regain much of their language abilities (although it may take months or years). In some cases, remission and relapse may occur. The prognosis is improved when the onset of the disorder is after age 6 and when speech therapy is started early. Seizures generally disappear by adulthood.
What research is being done?
The NINDS supports broad and varied programs of research on epilepsy and developmental disorders. This research is aimed at discovering new ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat epilepsy and developmental disorders and, ultimately, to find cures for them.
Featured Organization: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Our thanks to NINDS for providing this valuable information.
The mission of NINDS is to reduce the burden of neurological disease, a burden borne by every age group, by every segment of society, by people all over the world.
To support this mission, NINDS:
- Conducts, fosters, coordinates, and guides research on the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of neurological disorders and stroke, and supports basic research in related scientific areas.
- Provides grants-in-aid to public and private institutions and individuals in fields related to its areas of interest, including research project, program project, and research center grants.
- Operates a program of contracts for the funding of research and research support efforts in selected areas of institute need.
- Provides individual and institutional fellowships to increase scientific expertise in neurological fields.
- Conducts a diversified program of intramural and collaborative research in its own laboratories, branches, and clinics.
- Collects and disseminates research information related to neurological disorders.
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