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Seizure. 2011 Nov;20(9):706-10. doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2011.07.001. Epub 2011 Jul 26.

Patients with epilepsy and patients with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures: video-EEG, clinical and neuropsychological evaluation.

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UO Neurologia 2, Centro Epilessia, A.O. San Paolo, Dipartimento Medicina Chirurgia e Odontoiatria, Università degli Studi di Milano, Via A. Di Rudinì, 8, 20142, Milan, Italy.



The incidence of psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) is 4.9/100,000/year and it is estimated that about 20-30% of patients referred to tertiary care epilepsy centers for refractory seizures have both epilepsy and PNES. The purpose of our study is to evaluate psychiatric disorders and neuropsychological functions among patients with PNES, patients with epilepsy associated with PNES and patients with epilepsy.


We evaluated 66 consecutive in-patients with video-EEG recordings: 21 patients with epilepsy, 22 patients with PNES and 10 patients with epilepsy associated with PNES; 13 patients were excluded (8 because of mental retardation and 5 because they did not present seizures or PNES during the recording period).


All patients with PNES had a psychiatric diagnosis (100%) vs. 52% of patients with epilepsy. Cluster B personality disorders were more common in patients with PNES. We observed fewer mood and anxiety disorders in patients with PNES compared with those with epilepsy. We did not find statistically significant differences in neuropsychological profiles among the 3 patient groups.


This study can help to contribute to a better understanding of the impact of PNES manifestations, in addition to the occurrence of seizures, in order to provide patients with more appropriate clinical, psychological and social care.

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