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Epilepsia. 1999 Sep;40(9):1244-7.

Benign partial seizures of adolescence.

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Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Austin and Repatriation Medical Centre, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia.



A benign syndrome of partial seizures in adolescents (BPSA) was described by Loiseau et al. in 1978, but confirmation of this syndrome has been lacking. We sought to identify BPSA among teenagers with new-onset focal seizures enrolled in our prospective first-seizure study and to assess the EEG and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings.


We searched the study database for patients aged between 10 and 20 years with focal seizures who did not have idiopathic partial epilepsies, epileptogenic lesions on MRI, or recurrent tonic-clonic seizures during 2 years of follow-up.


The database contained 92 adolescents, including 37 with partial epilepsy, of whom eight (22%) patients matched the description of BPSA. All eight patients had seizures with a sensory/motor "march." Six had a secondarily generalized seizure and two had simple partial seizures alone. Epileptiform abnormalities were documented in five cases but lacked a distinctive morphology or distribution. No lesions were seen on MRI.


BPSA can be provisionally diagnosed in teenagers with unprovoked focal seizures characterized by a march of sensory/motor symptoms, whose MRI is normal. The psychosocial consequences of chronic epilepsy in adolescence are considerable, so early recognition of this benign syndrome is important.

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