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Epilepsy Behav. 2008 Jan;12(1):183-6.

Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures in patients with learning disability: comparison with patients with no learning disability.

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  • 1West of Scotland Regional Epilepsy Service, Institute of Neurological Sciences, Southern General Hospital, Glasgow G51 4TF, Scotland, UK.


Among a consecutive series of patients with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES), we compared patients with learning disability (LD) (n=25) with patients with no LD (n=263), with respect to demographic and clinical variables. A higher proportion of the LD group had epilepsy as well as PNES (P<0.001) (uncorrected P values are quoted), and a higher proportion were taking antiepileptic drugs at the time of diagnosis of PNES (P=0.007). Fewer patients with LD had a history of antecedent sexual abuse (P=0.036). A higher proportion of the LD group had previous pseudostatus (P<0.001), and a higher proportion had immediate situational or emotional triggers for their attacks (P<0.001). There were trends toward a higher proportion of men in the LD group (P=0.056) and a longer delay between onset of PNES and diagnosis (P=0.072). Our data suggest potentially important clinical differences between PNES populations with and without LD, as well as possible differences in mechanism.

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