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Benign focal epilepsies of childhood

Selim R Benbadis, MD
Section Editor
Douglas R Nordli, Jr, MD
Deputy Editor
April F Eichler, MD, MPH


Benign focal (partial) epilepsies of childhood are electroclinical syndromes of unknown or genetic cause that occur in developmentally and neurologically normal children and have a benign course, remitting prior to adulthood. These epilepsy syndromes are distinguished from symptomatic focal epilepsy, which refers to epilepsy that results from brain injury or other structural brain disease. Thus, the benign focal epilepsies of childhood can be viewed as a spectrum of conditions with "functional" or "nonlesional" focal epileptogenicity, each characterized by location and seizure type(s). This is sometimes referred to as the benign childhood susceptibility syndrome [1,2].

The best-described syndromes are:

Benign (childhood) epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes (BCECTS or BECTS) or benign rolandic epilepsy

Benign occipital epilepsy of childhood (Gastaut syndrome)

Panayiotopoulos syndrome


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Feb 12, 2016.
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