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Brain Dev. 2004 Oct;26(7):490-3.

Hot water epilepsy and focal malformation of the parietal cortex development.

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Department of Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Reproductive Medicine, University of Siena, Viale M. Bracci, Le Scotte, 53100 Siena, Italy.


Hot water epilepsy (HWE) refers to a specific type of reflex epilepsy precipitated by the stimulus of bathing in hot water. HWE is considered to be a geographically specific epileptic syndrome since it mainly occurs in the Indian community. Spontaneous seizures may also occur later in life. The seizure pattern includes complex partial attacks. Although the pathogenesis of HWE is still unknown, temporal lobe has been thought to take part in the epileptogenesis. This paper reports on a 4-year-old girl who, at the age of 6 months, experienced complex partial seizures triggered by bathing in hot water. Non-provoked seizures intercritical EEG showed isolated spikes and spike-and-waves in the left parietal region. Brain MRI detected a left parietal focal cortical dysplasia. This is the second patient with HWE in whom a cortical malformation has been observed. The observation present here and data reported in the literature seem to indicate that the sensory cortex might also be involved in triggering seizures precipitated by a bath in hot water. Moreover, the authors believe that MRI examination should be considered for this group of patients.

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