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Brain. 1996 Dec;119 ( Pt 6):2133-41.

Temporal lobe epilepsy caused by mesial temporal sclerosis and temporal neocortical lesions. A clinical and electroencephalographic study of 46 pathologically proven cases.

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  • 1Royal Melbourne Hospital, Australia.


This study aims to determine whether there are important clinico-electrical differences between patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) secondary to mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS) and those with TLE secondary to a discrete temporal neocortical lesion (NL). The case histories, interictal EEG, seizure semiology, ictal EEG and postoperative outcome of 46 pathologically proven patients (31 MTS and 15 NL) were compared. A history of febrile convulsions (FC) was more common in MTS patients (58% versus 26%, P < 0.05), as was a history of a significant cerebral event at < 4 years of age (22% versus 0%, P < 0.05). There were no statistically significant differences in the incidence or nature of auras. No statistically significant differences between the groups were found in the interictal-EEG. With ictal semiology dystonic posturing occurred more frequently in MTS patients (mean 52% versus 26%, P < 0.05). Facial grimacing/ twitching occurred earlier in the seizures of NL patients (median 19 s versus 35 s, P < 0.05). There was an increased frequency of fast rhythmic sharp waves (> 4 Hz) in the ictal-EEG of MTS patients (mean 81% versus 60%, P = 0.05). The patients with NL developed bilateral ictal EEG changes more often (mean 55% versus 26%, P < 0.05) and more rapidly (mean 23 s versus 74 s, P < 0.005). The onset of ictal EEG seizure activity was bilateral more often in patients with NL (20% versus 4%, P < 0.005). There were no significant differences between the two groups for any of the video-EEG features, in terms of whether or not the feature occurred at least once in an individual patients. There was a tendency for MTS patients to have a higher seizure-free postsurgical outcome (87% versus 60%, P = 0.057). However, all the NL patients who were not free of seizures had had an incomplete lesion resection. We conclude that there are a number of clinico-electrical differences between patients with mesial TLE (MTLE) and patients with neocortical TLE (NCTLE), but that none of these are sufficient to allow a distinction to be made in an individual patient.

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