Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures in children and adolescents: An international cross-cultural study

Epilepsy Behav. 2019 Jan:90:90-92. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2018.11.005. Epub 2018 Dec 2.


Purpose: We compared various clinical characteristics of psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) between young patients from Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Canada, three nations with significantly different socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. This international cross-cultural comparative study may advance our knowledge and understanding of PNES in children and adolescents across the cultures and borders.

Methods: In this retrospective study, we investigated all patients 16 years of age or younger, with PNES admitted to the epilepsy monitoring units at one center in Iran, one center in Saudi Arabia, and one center in Canada. Age, gender, age at seizure onset, seizure semiology, seizure frequency, factors potentially predisposing to PNES, and video-electroencephalography (EEG) recording of all patients were registered routinely and compared between the nations.

Results: Fifty-one patients were studied (22 from Iran, 14 from Saudi Arabia, and 15 from Canada). Age at the diagnosis was 13.4 ± 2.2 years (range: 8-16 years), and age at the onset of seizures was 12.3 ± 2.7 years (range: 5-16 years). Demographic and clinical characteristics of and associated factors in the patients among the three nations were not significantly different. Twenty-six (51%) patients were taking antiepileptic drugs at the time of diagnosis; the difference was not statistically significant between the nations (13 patients in Iran, 6 in Saudi Arabia, and 7 patients in Canada; P = 0.5).

Conclusion: Young patients with PNES across borders and between cultures share more similarities than differences with regard to their demographic and clinical characteristics.

Keywords: Adolescents; Children; Nonepileptic seizures; PNES; Psychogenic.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Canada / ethnology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Electroencephalography / trends
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / trends
  • Humans
  • Internationality*
  • Iran / ethnology
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Saudi Arabia / ethnology
  • Seizures / diagnosis
  • Seizures / ethnology*
  • Seizures / psychology*
  • Video Recording / methods
  • Video Recording / trends