Benign nocturnal alternating hemiplegia of childhood: a new case with unusual findings

Brain Dev. 2014 May;36(5):408-10. doi: 10.1016/j.braindev.2013.06.004. Epub 2013 Jun 29.


It has been described a neuro developmental disorder labelled "Benign nocturnal alternating hemiplegia of childhood" (BNAHC) characterized by recurrent attacks of nocturnal hemiplegia without progression to neurological or intellectual impairment. We report a female patient who at 11months revealed a motionless left arm, unusual crying without impairment of consciousness and obvious precipitating factors. The attacks occur during sleep in the early morning with lack of ictal and interictal electroencephalographic abnormalities, progressive neurological deficit, and cognitive impairment. Unlike previous reports of BNAHC our patient come from a family with a history of both migraine, hemiplegic migraine, and sleep disorders. Our study remarks on the typical features described in previous studies and stresses the uncommon aspects that could help to identify the disorder which is likely to have been underestimated. Despite some clinical similarities between BNAHC and familiar hemiplegic migraine and alternating hemiplegia of childhood, the genetic analyses of our patient did not reveal genetic mutations found in both disorders.

Keywords: Alternating hemiplegia of childhood; Benign nocturnal alternating hemiplegia of childhood; Hemiplegic migraine; Sleep disorders.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Family
  • Female
  • Hemiplegia / diagnosis
  • Hemiplegia / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Sleep / physiology*

Supplementary concepts

  • Alternating hemiplegia of childhood