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Epilepsia. 2006 Dec;47(12):2198-201.

Nonlesional frontal lobe epilepsy (FLE) of childhood: clinical presentation, response to treatment and comorbidity.

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Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neurology, Sainte-Justine Hospital, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada.



Few studies have looked at long-term epileptic and cognitive outcome of frontal lobe epilepsy (FLE) in children. Most are limited by inclusion of lesional and nonlesional patients.


To define the epileptic and functional outcome of children with nonlesional FLE.


We reviewed medical records and neuropsychological evaluations of patients with nonlesional FLE diagnosed between 1994 and 2004. We included children with either focal or regional frontal EEG and/or functional imaging abnormalities. We reviewed their charts for seizure and neuropsychological outcome.


We included 21 children. Twelve (57.1%) presented with daily seizures. Seizures were nocturnal in 8 of 21, secondarily generalized in 6 of 21, adversive in 5 of 21, and focal motor in 6 of 21. Although, initial seizure control was poor in 14 of 21, long-term control was achieved in 10 of 21 after 14.6+/-22.3 months. Early development was normal in 12 of 21 but at later formal neuropsychological evaluation only 3 of 12 still had a normal profile. The majority of children had learning difficulties requiring special education prior to seizure onset (6 of 10). A clearly defined regression after seizure onset was observed in three children. The majority exhibited attention deficit and hyperactivity or impulsivity (14 of 21), behavioral problems (8 of 21), and cognitive impairments (10 of 21). Early seizure control was associated with a better cognitive outcome.


Nonlesional FLE is associated with poor seizure and behavioral outcomes. Whether this is secondary to MRI-silent developmental lesions or to the progressive repercussion of seizures on frontal lobe functions remains uncertain. A prospective study with early neuropsychological assessment could help confirm the latter.

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