In view of the emerging evidence implying potential positive neuropsychological effects of periconceptional folate in both healthy children and children exposed in utero to antiseizure medications (ASMs), researchers here examined if children of women with epilepsy exhibit improved neurodevelopment in correlation to periconceptional folate. For this work, they re-examined data from the Neurodevelopmental Effects of Antiepileptic Drugs (NEAD) study, an NIH-funded, prospective, observational, multicenter investigation of pregnancy outcomes in 311 children of 305 women with epilepsy managed with ASM monotherapy.
The analysis revealed a correlation of periconceptional folate with a higher Full Scale Intelligence Quotient at both 3 and 6 years of age. Further, they identified significant effects on other measures comprising Nonverbal Index, Expressive Language Index, and Developmental Neuropsychological Assessment Executive Function at 6 years of age, and Verbal Index and Receptive Language Index at 3 years of age. Hence in pregnant women with epilepsy taking ASMs, there was better cognitive development in correlation with the use of periconceptional folate.