We report the electroencephalographic (EEG) features of 22 patients with neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCL) who were referred to the Neurological Institute of Milan between 1984 and 1998. The EEG data were reviewed, taking into account the different forms of NCL on the basis of age at onset, clinical features and morphological appearance. The study group included patients with infantile NCL (one case), late-infantile NCL (ten cases), juvenile NCL (seven cases) and adult NCL (four cases). We looked for the presence of homogeneous EEG features associated with these different forms, particularly in the early phases of the disease. Our data indicate that the EEG characteristics of late-infantile NCL and of the myoclonic form of adult NCL are quite distinctive, and that their particular spontaneous epileptiform anomalies and response to intermittent light stimulation can be considered relevant diagnostic clues at an early disease stage.