Longitudinal study of epileptiform EEG patterns in normal children

Epilepsia. 1980 Feb;21(1):43-55. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1157.1980.tb04043.x.


EEG were recorded in 3,726 children, from 6 to 13 years of age who were neurologically normal and had no history of epileptic seizures. The records were taken during wakefulness, at rest, and during hyperventilation. In 131 cases (3.54%) epileptiform patterns were found. They consisted of 3 count/sec spike and slow waves discharges (4 cases), multiple spike and slow wave complexes (37 cases), midtemporal spikes (50 cases), rolandic or parietal spikes (27 cases), occipital spikes (2 cases), and multifocal spikes (11 cases). Half of the subjects with EEG abnormalities had behavior problems and/or slight psychomotor ability disturbances. Follow-up studies over an 8 to 9 year period were performed. These demonstrated the spontaneous disappearance of the EEG abnormalities, usually within school age or, at the latest, during adolesence. Only seven individuals developed epileptic seizures of the primary generalized type which responded well to anticonvulsant drug treatment. From this study we can deduce that the epileptiform EEG patterns that often are found in children during school age have no clinical relationship to epilepsy in the great majority of cases. The relationship with epilepsy exists probably on a genetic level for the generalized discharges. The spike foci are non-epileptic in nature in all probability, especially if they emerge from a fairly normal background activity and their duration is very similar to that of the constituents of the background activity, as found in the majority of these subjects. On the contrary, it is probable that these alterations express difficulties in affective or motor adaptation during childhood.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsies, Myoclonic / diagnosis
  • Epilepsies, Partial / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy / diagnosis*
  • Epilepsy / genetics
  • Epilepsy / psychology
  • Epilepsy, Absence / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy, Tonic-Clonic / diagnosis
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Psychomotor Disorders / psychology