Cognition, mood and quality-of-life outcomes among low literacy adults living with epilepsy in rural Kenya: A preliminary study

Mwangala PN, Kariuki SM, Nyongesa MK, Mwangi P, Chongwo E, Newton CR, Abubakar A
Epilepsy Behav. 2018;85

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Epilepsy is frequently associated with neurocognitive impairments, mental health, and psychosocial problems but these are rarely documented in low- and middle-income countries. The aim of this study was to examine the neurocognitive outcomes, depressive symptoms, and psychosocial adjustments of people with epilepsy (PWE) in Kilifi, Kenya. We evaluated the impact of these outcomes on health-related quality of life. Self-report, interviewer-administered measures of depression (Major Depression Inventory) and quality of life (RAND SF-36) were administered to 63 PWE and 83 community controls. Neurocognitive functioning was assessed using Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices, Digit Span, and Contingency Naming Test. The results show that PWE have poorer scores for executive function, working memory, intelligence quotient (IQ), depression, and quality of life than controls. Twenty-seven (27%) of PWE had depressive symptoms, which was significantly greater than in controls (6%); P<0.001. Quality-of-life scores were significantly lower in PWE with depressive symptoms than in those without depressive symptoms (Mean QoL scores (standard deviation (SD)): 46.43 (13.27) versus 64.18 (17.69); P=0.01. On adjusted linear regression models, depression affected total quality-of-life scores (P=0.07) as well as individual health indicator domains touching on pain (P=0.04), lethargy/fatigue (P=0.01), and emotional well-being (P=0.02). Our results show that epilepsy is associated with a significant burden of mental health and neurocognitive impairments in the community; however, community-based studies are needed to provide precise estimates of these disorders.