Epilepsy is usually diagnosed when a person experiences 2 or more seizures that weren’t provoked. There are different types of epilepsy, according to the age of the patient, EEG (electroencephalogram) findings, semiology and outcome of the disease. Benign epilepsy includes the whole group of epileptic disorders in children, which are mostly un-related to some serious neurologic problem.
Benign childhood epilepsy is considered to be caused by immaturity of the central nervous system and as such, doctors believe that most of little patients diagnosed with generalized tonic-clonic seizure will be resolved on their own. In most patients, benign epilepsy is something these children are genetically predisposed and they have no other medical problems besides the seizures. Children may suffer from generalized or partial epileptic seizures and some of the seizures may appear even in very young children and newborn babies (neonatal period).
Benign Epilepsy in Kids
Newborn babies may experience either (benign) familial neonatal convulsions or idiopathic neonatal convulsions. Children and adolescents may develop generalized epilepsy, such as absence epilepsy (pyknolepsy) or juvenile absence epilepsy (epilepsy with non-pyknoleptic absences, epilepsy with spanioleptic absences). Partial epileptic seizures may also be seen in children and teenagers, especially benign partial epilepsy of childhood with centrotemporal spikes, benign epilepsy with affective symptoms and benign occipital epilepsy.
Benign Familial Neonatal Convulsions
Boys are more likely to develop this type of epilepsy than girls and the seizures start in healthy children, with no other medical problems. In most cases, little patients experience first seizures in their first days or first week of life, usually several brief seizures per day. These could be multifocal clonic or focal clonic seizures, while generalized tonic seizures are rare. Patients often experience apnea and consequent cyanosis.
This condition is inherited and about 80% of the cases were diagnosed to be due to genetic defect on the gene known as 20q13.3. The common treatment is Phenobarbital, phenytoin or valproic acid, but the patients may experience some further epileptic seizures. In rare cases there were mild cognitive and learning problems.
Benign Idiopathic Neonatal Convulsions
About 4% of seizures in babies are diagnosed as benign idiopathic convulsions. In 80% of the cases, seizures start in first week of life and babies have normal neurologic state between birth and the start of seizures. Pregnancy and childbirth were usually normal, the baby was delivered in time and Apgar score was found to be greater than 8. Seizures are clonic or apneic, last for a minute to three minutes and there are normal findings on biological and radiological tests. In some 60% of the cases, there was the theta pointu alternant pattern.
There is no identified cause of these seizures, so the diagnosis is based on exclusion all other possible explanations.
Benign Myoclonic Epilepsy in Infancy
These seizures appear very early in life and their prognosis is favorable for the patients. Boys are found out to be twice more likely to develop benign myoclonic epilepsy than girls. Seizures usually start when the child is 4 months to 3 years old, but they can also appear in slightly older children.