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Seizure. 2011 Sep;20(7):583-5. doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2011.03.004. Epub 2011 Apr 21.

Diagnosing nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy: a case study of two children.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Fukuoka University, Nanakuma, Jonan-ku, Fukuoka, Japan.


We describe two children of nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy (NFLE) diagnosed using carefully observed nocturnal sleep EEGs and detailed patient histories. Case #1, a 14-year-old boy, showed repeated generalized tonic convulsions and frequent eyes opening seizures during sleep. Conventional EEGs - done with the patient awake or in sleep stage I - showed no abnormalities, while a nocturnal sleep EEG - done during in sleep stage II - revealed the repeated, sharp wave bursts predominantly in the right frontal lobe characteristic of NFLE. During these wave bursts, we noticed the boy's eyes opening, although his parents had not been aware this NFLE symptom. Case #2, a 12-year-old boy, showed one daytime generalized convulsion. He had also been suffering from repeated paroxysmal episodes similar to parasomnia - waking up, sitting, walking, screaming, and speaking - which always followed the same patterns lasting several minutes. During the nocturnal sleep EEG, episodes occurred twice, showing abnormal epileptic discharges predominantly in the frontal lobe. His parents did not mention the episodes to us until questioned, as they had recognized them as parasomnia. The previous conventional EEG showed abnormal slow waves in the frontal lobe, which led us to suspect frontal lobe epilepsy and to take a detailed patient history. The frequency and stereotypy of their symptoms during sleep caused us to perform nocturnal sleep EEGs and led us NFLE diagnosis. Detailed patient histories including sleep habits and carefully observed nocturnal sleep EEGs enabled us to recognize these NFLE clinical features.

Copyright © 2011 British Epilepsy Association. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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