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Epilepsia. 2007 Nov;48(11):2086-92. Epub 2007 Jul 21.

Nonepileptic seizures in children.

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  • 1Section of Pediatric Neurology, Department of Neurology, Riley Hospital, Indiana University School of Medicine, 575 West Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.



To determine if the clinical characteristics of nonepileptic seizures (NES) are different in children younger than 13 years age as compared to adolescents.


Retrospective review of medical records and video-EEGs (VEEG) of all patients with NES confirmed on VEEG monitoring was performed.


Sixty-eight (3.5%) of 1,967 patients monitored with VEEG had a clinical diagnosis of NES. Fifty-nine of 68 patients had their habitual event recorded. Mean age at the time of the VEEG diagnosis was 13 years 4 months. Twenty-two patients were less than 13 years (group A) and 37 were 13 years and older (group B). The male to female ratio was equal in group A, with female predominance seen in group B. NES commonly manifested as subtle motor activity in group A (p < 0.01) and prominent motor activity in group B (p < 0.001). Difficulties at school, family discord, and interpersonal conflicts, were frequent stressors in both groups. Sexual abuse was the least frequent. Depression was more common in group B; cognitive dysfunction (p < 0.001) and epilepsy (p < 0.01) were more common in group A.


Differences in clinical semiology and predisposing factors may help identify young children and adolescents who might be at risk for the development of NES.

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