Benign familial infantile seizures

Brain Dev. 2005 Apr;27(3):172-7. doi: 10.1016/j.braindev.2003.12.012.


In recent years, numerous publications have reported localization-related epilepsy with onset during early infancy, idiopathic etiology and favourable outcome. In 1963, Fukuyama reported cases occurring in the first 2 years of life characterized by partial seizures, absence of etiologic factors and benign outcome. Watanabe studied the localization and semiology of seizures. Later Vigevano and coworkers directed attention to the presence of cases with a family history of convulsions with benign outcome during infancy, with autosomal dominant inheritance, suggesting the term 'benign infantile familial convulsions' (BIFC). Similar cases have been described by several authors confirming that this is a new syndrome. In the last ILAE proposal of Classification of Epilepsy Syndromes this entity is called benign familial infantile seizures. Benign infantile seizures are divided now into familial and non-familial forms, although the two forms can overlap. Genetic studies led to the identification of a marker on chromosome 19. This was not confirmed by later studies, and genetic heterogeneity was hypothesized. Recently Malacarne studying eight Italian families with BIFC mapped a novel locus on chromosome 2. In 1997, Szepetowski described the association between BIFC and a later occurrence of paroxysmal choreoathetosis. Following the identification of a specific marker on chromosome 16, this entity constitutes a variant of the familial forms, called infantile convulsions and choreoathetosis. The age at onset, the semeiology of the seizures and the genetic data distinguish the benign familial infantile seizures from the benign familial neonatal seizures. Recent data suggested that this type of epilepsy would be due to a channellopathy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy, Benign Neonatal / diagnosis*
  • Epilepsy, Benign Neonatal / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Pedigree