Objectives: The purposes of the current study were to test the feasibility of exercise therapy for children with benign epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes (BECTS) and to collect pilot data about the impact of exercise therapy on neurocognitive, emotional, and behavioral outcomes. Methods: Ten children with BECTS (9.7 ± 1.42. years) participated in a therapeutic exercise program consisting of ten supervised exercise sessions and home-based exercises for five weeks. Electroencephalography (EEG), seizure frequency, and neurocognitive and psychological factors, including attention, executive function, depression, anxiety, behavioral problems, and quality of life, were assessed before and after the exercise program. Results: No clinical symptoms were observed to worsen during the study, demonstrating that the exercise therapy was safe and also feasible. After five weeks of exercise therapy, significant improvements in neurocognitive domains such as simple visual and auditory attention, sustained attention, divided attention, psychomotor speed, and inhibition-disinhibition were observed. Furthermore, parent ratings of internalizing behavioral problems and social problems and mood-related well-being from quality of life improved after exercise therapy. Although not statistically significant, trends were noted toward improvement in children's self-reports of negative mood/somatization, parent reports of somatic complaints, and general health on a quality-of-life measure. Conclusions: A five-week structured exercise program was successfully implemented, with preliminary data suggesting beneficial impact on neurocognitive and psychobehavioral function. Exercise therapy should be further evaluated as a part of a comprehensive treatment program for children with benign epilepsy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology
- Behavioral Neuroscience